Nissan Skyline R32 Tuning

"Thank you for reading my Nissan Skyline R32 tuning guide."

The Nissan Skyline R32 was produced by Nissan from 1989 to 1994. The Saloon styling lends itself nicely to Sleeper culture, with lots of power on offer and those in the know recognize the R32 as a true thoroughbred sportscar.

It is regarded as a classic and is especially notable for its stylish design, advanced technology, and impressive performance. The R32 was the first Skyline to feature all-wheel drive, a turbocharged engine, and Nissan's trademark "ATTESA E-TS" all-wheel drive system, which made it a popular choice for tuners and racers.  We love the tuning potential on offer and the fantastic array of aftermarket parts and upgrades assure you of an interesting build project. The R32 has since become a cult classic and is highly sought after by enthusiasts keeping prices climbing higher even after 25 years have passed.

In this article we review Skyline R32 tuning and report on the best mods that work.

The Skyline R32 is a good car tuning project to play with. Take your time and research Skyline R32 tuning to avoid making the usual disastrous errors we typically come across.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums
  • GXi Coupe and Sedan – 1.8 L CA18i I4,  90 hp
  • GTE Coupe and Sedan – 2.0 L RB20E I6, 123 hp, 152 Nm (112 lbft)
  • GTS Type-X, S, J – 2.0 L RB20DE I6  153 hp, 154 Nm (114 lbft)
  • GTS-25 Type-X, S, XG – 2.5 L RB25DE I6,  178 hp), 231 Nm (170 lbft)
  • GTS-t, Type-M – 2.0 L RB20DET turbo I6, 212 hp), 265 Nm (195 lbft)
  • GTS-4 – 2.0 L RB20DET turbo I6, 212 hp, 265 Nm (195 lbft) 4WD
  • Autech GTS-4 – 2.6 L RB26DE I6, 217 hp, Autech Version (auto only) 4WD - only 188 made
  • GT-R – 2.6 L RB26DETT twin-turbo I6, 276 hp, 368 Nm (271 lbft 4WD; also NISMO, N1, V-Spec, and V-Spec II variants.
  • NISMO S-Tune

R32 Skyline Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are the thing most do first for the Skyline R32.

Setting a small amount of negative camber at the front and a degree or two of toe in to improve stability or toe out for better cornering, will often benefit your Skyline R32 in handling and cornering.

We suggest that you fit performance suspension and lower the car by 28mm - 40 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

Don't just look at the peak power figures, you need to see the whole torque curve when determining if a mod is right for you Skyline R32.

With our tips your Skyline R32 can be a track day fun car and prove to be reliable daily run around.

To be completely frank and honest, on the more modest engine sizes you are wasting your time spending money on modifications, so if this applies to you get yourself an engine swap then apply the following mods.

R32 Skyline Engine Tuning.

The following tuning parts are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get started.

The N1's are basically the pure racing versions. This means uprated oil pump, water pump, engine block, pistons, conrods, crankshaft and turbochargers.

The N1 engines are basically more efficient and reliable than the regular engines, but they can take about the same power - except the turbochargers (which have steel internals instead of ceramic) and the block itself.

Getting the right motorsport upgrade kits for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 (competition) mods just don't work well on the road making the car difficult to drive.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best Engine Mods for your R32 Skyline

  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 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.

R32 Skyline Tuning Mods

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Remap, Sports exhaust, Lighter flywheel, Alloy wheels, Suspension upgrade (drop 28mm - 40 mm.), Panel air filter.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Ported and polished head, Fast road cam, Power/Sport clutch, high flow fuel injector, fuel pump upgrades.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Engine balancing, Competition cam, Sports gearbox, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Your aim when modding the engine should be a nice flat torque output. You want to avoid sending all the torque to be at the top end unless you are creating a motor sport car.

The whole aim of our advice is to give a little insight into the world of customizing modifications and point you in the right direction, our forum is best place to go if you need more detailed advice and tips on your modified car project, the best motorsport upgrades and all aspects of modding cars.A fast road camshaft usually proves to be one of the best NASP power mods you can do with a single part fitted to your engine.

It improves the intake and exhaust flow and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a remap. We'd also caution you not to go with a motor sport cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

When pushing up the power you will need to ramp up to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

Most power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after sports mods are done can usually be traced to fuelling or timing issues. Upgraded injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

If have increased your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

R32 Skyline Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Air induction kits only help to boost power if the air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most low power engines will see NO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for Skyline R32 engines you should go with a sports panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Sports exhausts balance the flow of gases through the engine. But if the exhaust is too big, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose much of your flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Getting the cylinder head polished and ported will help get more air into each cylinder. This is definitely a job for a pro with a flow bench. In nearly all cases of Skyline R32 tuning your clutch will start to complain and this needs an upgrade - read our tips on clutches for more information. The best mods in our opinion for your Skyline R32 are fast road camshaft, remap, induction and exhaust, suspension.

Turbo engines are just begging to be remapped. You will see significant power gains on most modern turbo charged cars including diesels making a tune/remap one of the most cost effective and significant modifications for your money.Adding forced induction will see big power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Turbos are generally harder to add than a supercharger. Turbos increase power in increasing proportion to th engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

It is easier to map a supercharger because the boost is directly proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Adding forced induction will generally require a lower compression ratio or water injection.

R32 Skyline Alloy wheel upgrades.

Due to the fact that alloy wheels are less heavy they improve performance and they will help to cool the brake disks. Get a good directional tread pattern tire to improve your handling and help improve traction on your Skyline R32. The drawback to large alloys on your Skyline R32 is that you're altering your final drive ratio so this will have a negative effect on performance.

For this reason we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 18 inches, although we know some of our members have fitted larger wheels with no problems.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Skyline R32 options in more detail with our Skyline R32 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Nissan tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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