Nissan VG30DET Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Nissan VG30DET engine!"

The Nissan VG30DET really good project engines and with carefully picked motorsport mods like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will certainly increase your driving enjoyment.

This pages aim is review VG30DET tuning and outline the best modifications for this engine which was used from 1987 through 1995 and gained quite a following.

History, Power & Specs of the VG30DET Engine

power peaked around 255 hp (190 kW) and measuring 236 lbft (320 Nm)

  • Nissan Cedric Y32 (1991–1994)
  • Nissan Gloria
  • Nissan Cima FY31, FY32 (1988–1995)
  • Nissan Leopard

Tuning the Nissan VG30DET and best VG30DET performance parts.

Best VG30DET upgrades

Just because particular upgrades are are common on VG30DET it doesn't mean it is good, instead we'll concentrate on the optimum upgrades that will give your VG30DET the best value for money to power increase. Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best Engine Mods for your VG30DET

    1. Mapping - 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.

VG30DET Tuning Stages

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

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

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

Significant gains on the VG30DET can be made from cam upgrades. Altering the cam profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the engines power and power output.

Fast road cams tend to raise the power over the rev range, you might lose a little bottom end power but top end will improve.

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

For a car used daily you should ideally to optimize your power band to your preferences.

I'd never think that a VG30DET Competition cam is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic because low end power will be very lumpy. Competition cams are designed for maximum power at the top end of the RPM range, a place that most daily commutes will not permit!

Some VG30DET engines respond better to less aggressive camshaft durations so view each engine as unique.

The ecu map and fuelling also will say much on the power gains you'll hit.

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.

Plan your options and then find your parts and set yourself a power target to avoid costly mistakes.

ECU mapping helps unlock the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your VG30DET.

(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 NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but figures achieved usually depend much on the upgrades you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Pulling air into your VG30DET is vital to any engine upgrade task.

Air Intake manifolds carry the air during the suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders.

Structure and rate of flow of the Plenum can make a substantial difference to fuel delivery on the VG30DET.

We often see plenum chambers are crying out for a performance upgrade, although a few car makers provide well optimised plenum chambers.

Adding a VG30DET larger valve kit, doing some VG30DET port enlargement and head flowing will also lift performance, and more importantly will raise potential for a greater performance increase on other parts.

VG30DET 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 VG30DET

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 an engine is fitted with a turbocharger tuning parts are giving better power gains and you'll see that turbo engines use many forged and stronger components.

However you'll find engines will have power limits.See where you'll find these restrictions and install better pistons and crank to cope with the power.

We see many guys spending a lots of money on turbocharger upgrades on the VG30DET only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the car literally blow up soon after it's finished.

Large upgraded turbo chargers commonly experience low end lag, and low capacity turbo chargers spool up much more quickly but don't have the high rpm engines power gains.

Thankfully the choice of turbochargers is always moving on and we commonly find variable vane turbochargers, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and push these at differently designed vanes in the turbo. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the VG30DET 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 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 in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling

Don't forget to look at the fuel delivery when you are increasing the bhp - it makes the car more thirsty. It is important to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

The rule of thumb is to add another 20% when buying an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and allows you some 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.

VG30DET Performance Exhausts

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

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is still good 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 do not go too large 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 in the filters installed, so adding a higher flowing sports alternative is the answer. This keeps the car road legal and will flow much better due to it's higher internal surface area and design, so has the added benefit of keeping your car road legal. The alternative decat should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars..

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the VG30DET

The VG30DET 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 VG30DET, 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 VG30DET engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss VG30DET tuning options in more detail with our VG30DET 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.

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We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which tuning parts 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 VG30DET tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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