Nissan VE30DE Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Nissan VE30DE engine!"

The Nissan VE30DE are fantastic to work on and with the right tuning enhancements like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will noticeably enhance your driving opportunities.

We shall examine VE30DE tuning and highlight the best upgrades. It was an innovative engine with N VCT early form of variable valve timing which worked really well.

History, Power & Specs of the VE30DE Engine

Port sizes and shapes varied over the years, and intakes and exhaust manifolds need to be checked for the correct layout and port shape when fitted unless you port them.

  • 190 hp (142 kW; 193 PS)
    1986–1989  Nissan 300ZX Z31 (300ZR only)
  • 222 hp (166 kW; 225 PS)
    1990–1997 Nissan 300ZX Z32
  • 222 hp (166 kW; 225 PS)
    1989–2000 Nissan Fairlady Z Z32
  • 190 hp (142 kW; 193 PS)
    1986–1992 Nissan Leopard F31
  • 210 hp (157 kW; 213 PS)
    1992–1998 Infiniti J30
  • 190 hp (142 kW; 193 PS)
    1992–1995 Nissan Gloria and Cedric
  • 190 hp (142 kW; 193 PS)
    1989–1991 Nissan Cima

Tuning the Nissan VE30DE and best VE30DE performance parts.

Best VE30DE tuning parts

When talking about the optimum modifications for your VE30DE engine, we are going to concentrate on the mods that give the best value for money.

Altering your VE30DE camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine torque. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the torque accordingly.

Fast road cams commonly boost the power across the rev range, you might lose a little low end bhp but the higher rpm power will be better.

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

A Motorsport cam makes it harder when driving in heavy traffic. The low end idle will be very lumpy and irregular, so something you would notice on a track when you drive in the upper third of the rpm band, but on roads this is a serious issue and we've heard from lots of drivers lamenting their decision to add an extreme competition cam profile to their engine.

You should ideally optimize your bhp range to your usage of the car so for a road car stick with a fast road VE30DE cam

Each engine responds better to more aggressive camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

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

Extending exhaust or intake 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.

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

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

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

The VE30DE units are great to work on and we note that there is a lot of mods and tuning parts around.

ECU mapping helps to establish the full potential of all the parts you've done to your VE30DE.

(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 NASP engines, but your results often differs on the parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Feeding fuel and air into the VE30DE engine is vital to any performance tuning project.

Air Intake manifolds transmit the air from the air filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine cylinders.

Shape and rate of flow of the Headers can make a large effect on to fuel atomisation on the VE30DE.

Many mass produced engine intake manifold are crying out for a performance upgrade, although a few car makers provide decently flowing intake manifold.

Increasing the VE30DE valve size, carrying out 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also boost performance, the fantastic side effect is it will raise potential for a better performance increase on other upgrades.

VE30DE 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 VE30DE

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

If a car is fitted with a turbocharger tuning mods are relatively easy and turbo engines are made with stronger components.

However most engines will have power limits.See where you'll find these restrictions and upgrade to better quality crank and pistons to survive the power.

There are many mechanics spending a loads of money on turbo upgrades on the VE30DE only to experience the whole thing throw a rod when it's used on the roads.

Big upgraded turbo chargers will usually suffer no power at low rpm, and smaller turbo chargers spool up quickly but don't have the top end bhp gains.

We are pleased that the world of turbo units is always improving and we are seeing variable vane turbo units, where the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and flow these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the VE30DE when considerably more air is being pulled into the engine.

You'll see that 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 power gains, although harder to setup. We have this guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.


When you boost the torque you will need to look at to the fuelling.

More torque needs more fuel. We strongly recommend you to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

As a rule of thumb add 20% capacity when buying an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and allows 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.

6 Cylinder NASP engines

  • 58 PSI 189cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 284cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 378cc/min 400hp
  • 58 PSI 568cc/min 600hp

6 Cylinder turbocharged engines

  • 58 PSI 227cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 341cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 454cc/min 400hp
  • 58 PSI 682cc/min 600hp

VE30DE Performance Exhausts

Only look to upgrade your exhaust if the existing exhaust is actually causing a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you'll see 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 will certainly help air flow through the engine but do not go too large or you might just stuff your flow rate and make things worse. So generally speaking, keep to a size of 1.5 to around 2.5 inches to maximise flow rates, and this should take into account the amount of air your engine is moving.

Typically exhaust restrictions are in the catalysts installed, so adding a higher flowing race alternative such as a sports catalyst pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to it's larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the VE30DE

The VE30DE engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oilthey 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 VE30DE, 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 VE30DE engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss VE30DE tuning options in more detail with our VE30DE owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Nissan tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be for your car.

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 upgrades work best for them on each model of car. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these VE30DE articles which are continually updated.

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