Nissan VG30DETT Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Nissan VG30DETT engine!"

Our aim here is to detail the best approach to VG30DETT tuning and highlight the best mods that work. Nissan VG30DETT are good project engines and with the right motorsport upgrades like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will certainly increase your driving fun.

The VG30  was one of the most significant v6 engines to come from Japan and the VG30DETT shows the potential of this awesome engine block.

History, Power & Specs of the VG30DETT Engine

  • 280 PS (206 kW; 276 HP) at 6,400 rpm 381 Nm (281 lbft) at 3,200 rpm
  • 304 PS (300 hp; 224 kW) at 6400 rpm 384 Nm ( 283 lbft) at 3600 rpm
  • 284 PS (209 kW; 280 HP) at 6,400 rpm 383 Nm (284 lbft) at 3,200 rpm
  • 330 PS (242 kW; 325 HP) at 6,800 rpm 387 Nm ( 286 lbft) at 3,600 rpm

It was fitted to

  • 1987 Nissan MID4-II Concept (non-production)
  • 1989–2000 Nissan Fairlady Z Twin Turbo (Japan)
  • 1990–1996 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo (US)

Tuning the Nissan VG30DETT and best VG30DETT performance parts.

Best VG30DETT parts

When talking about the optimum modifications for your VG30DETT engine, we are going to concentrate on the modifications that give the best power gain for you spend.

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 VG30DETT

    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.

VG30DETT Tuning Stages

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

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

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

VG30DETT Camshafts & Performance Cams

Altering your VG30DETT cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine torque. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the torque accordingly.

Fast road cams commonly increase the bhp and torque through the rev range, you could sacrifice a little bottom end torque but top end will be better.

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

A Motorsport and race camshaft won't do well if on the daily commute, because the lumpy idle will make the car prone to stall and smooth driving at low rpm becomes impossible. If you are developing a track car this doesn't matter as you are in the high end of your RPM range anyway and that is where you want the power to be.

You should ideally optimize your torque band to your preferences so for a car driven daily stick with a mild fast road VG30DETT camshaft

Some VG30DETT engines respond better to different camshaft durations than others.

The engine timing and fuelling also will make differences on the torque gains you'll make.

A longer valve duration 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.

Review your options and then buy your upgrades and set yourself a power target to avoid disappointment.

Remaps should help to unlock the full potential of all the tuning mods you've done to your VG30DETT.

(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.)

(In some cases, as this one, 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.

      • LINK G4X
      • Megasquirt
      • Apexi
      • Syvecs
      • Haltech Elite 1000/1500
      • IMPUL Hi Power

An aftermarket ECU is harder to setup and requires some specialist knowledge of your engine and parts you've fitted, 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 the end result often depend much on the tuning mods you've done and the condition of your engine.

Shoving more air into each cylinder is vital to any tuning task.

Air Intake manifolds transmit the air from the intake filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

The size of bore and shape and rate of flow of the Intake can make a large effect on to fuel delivery on the VG30DETT.

Many mass produced engine air intake manifolds are needing an upgrade, although a few manufacturers provide reasonably good air intake manifolds.

Fitting big valve kits, doing some 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also improve torque, and importantly will afford you a greater torque increase on other upgrades.

VG30DETT 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 VG30DETT

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

If an engine has a turbo already fitted tuning parts are going to net you a larger power gain and turbo engines are built using stronger components.

There are weak spots for every engine, with some being over specified and some only just able to handle stock powerSee where you'll find these limitations and upgrade to better quality components to utilize the power.

It's not unheard of people spending a fortune on turbo upgrades on the VG30DETT only to see the motor explode when it's been finished.

Larger upgraded turbo chargers commonly experience low end lag, and small turbo chargers spool up really quickly but do not have the top end torque gains.

We are pleased that the world of turbos is always increasing and we commonly find variable vane turbos, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp.

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

You'll commonly see there's a limitation in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the VG30DETT when considerably more air is being drawn into the engine.

We see 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 performance gains, although more challenging to configure. We have this article covering twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling

Don't forget to improve the fuel system when you are increasing the bhp and torque - it makes the car more thirsty. We strongly recommend you to over specify your injector capacity.

The rule of thumb is to add another 20% when fitting an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and provides a little spare capacity should the engine require 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.

VG30DETT Performance Exhausts

You may need to uprate your exhaust if the existing exhaust is creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you should find that your flow rate is 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 out of the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big 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 can be traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a freer 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 VG30DETT

The VG30DETT 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 VG30DETT, 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 VG30DETT engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss VG30DETT tuning options in more detail with our VG30DETT 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.

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 modifications 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 VG30DETT tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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