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.

The VE30DE is a very rare engine, and parts can be quite hard to source for it, but there are still things you can do to improve the power output of this engine.

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 header/manifolds need to be checked for the correct layout and port shape when fitted unless you port them.

  • 190 HP (193 PS) @5,600 rpm, 260 Nm (191.7 lbft) @4,000 rpm.
    1992–1994 Maxima J30

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.

A regrind on the stock cam is probably the only option here, I don't know of any suppliers who sell a ready to install fast road camshaft.

Fast road cams are typically used to increase power across the rev range; you may lose a little low-end horsepower, but the higher-rpm power will be far greater.

Motorsport cams are designed to increase power in the upper rpm range, but as a consequence, the vehicle will not idle smoothly and low end power will almost always be reduced.

When driving in heavy traffic, using a Motorsport cam makes things more difficult. Low end idle will be lumpy and irregular, which is something you would notice on a track when you are driving in the upper third of the rpm band, but on the road this is a serious issue, and we've received numerous complaints from drivers who are resentful of their decision to install an extreme competition cam profile to their engine.

You should try to match your horsepower range to your intended use of the vehicle, thus if you're building a road car, stay 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.

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Best Engine Mods for your car

  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.
  6. Typical stage 1 mods often include:
    Fast road camshaft, Panel air filters, Intake manifolds, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Sports exhaust header/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.)

    When applied to turbocharged automobiles, you may expect to see a 15 percent increase in power. However, your results will vary depending on the components you've used and the state of your engine.

    Fuel and air delivery to the VE30DE engine are critical components of any performance modification endeavor.

    A manifold is a piece of equipment that transports air from an air filter and allows it to be sucked into the engine cylinders.

    On the VE30DE, the shape and rate of flow of the Headers may have a significant impact on the atomization of the fuel.

    Many mass-produced engine intake manifolds are in desperate need of an update in terms of performance, while a few automobile manufacturers do supply fairly flowing intake manifolds.

    It is also possible to improve performance by increasing the VE30DE valve size, doing 3 or 5 angle valve jobs, porting and head flowing. This has the excellent side effect of raising the possibility of an even greater performance improvement on additional upgrades as a result of these modifications.

    VE30DE 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 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 NA (naturally aspirated) 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 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.

    Timing chains/belts

    VE30DE needs a fresh belt every 60000 kilometers. The cost of repair after a failure is very high.

    The chains are reliable and work well, instead it is the tensioners and guides that wear out. So TorqueCars recommends taht VE timing chain TENSIONERS and GUIDES should be replaced every 100,000 miles especially if driven hard. I say this because i've seen broken chains, or covers as early as 118,000 miles and the average is somewhere near 180,000 miles. Hope this helps some of you.

    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 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 VE30DE tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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