Nissan VQ37VHR Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Nissan VQ37VHR engine!"

Now we will look at VQ37VHR tuning and summarise the greatest modifications and best approach to upgrades for it.

First launched in 2008 after an eight year development of the VQ series we see a capable high revving naturally aspirated engine and indeed the Nissan VQ37VHR has proved to be a popular tuning project.

600-650 hp can be wrung out of this block with a turbocharger upgrade, but even NA engine mods will make the car more torquey and improve the original 333hp (as Nissan did themselves with a 350hp version).

This block has a relatively high redline of 7,500 rpm and makes this engine feel quite lively and powerful. Nissan added VVEL variable valve timing for better throttle response and this works really well, as a result the engine found it's way into a large number of vehicles from Infiniti, Nissan and Mitsubishi and there was also a special NISMO tuned version.

The downside of VVEL is it makes upgrades and mods much harder, as the lift and duration are always changing, so a VQ37VHR build requires some expertise and understanding.

VQ engine family had a long production run since inception in 1994 and won significant engine awards every year since then.

History, Power & Specs of the VQ37VHR Engine

  • 325 hp (242 kW; 330 PS)
  • Infiniti G37 Convertible '09–'13
  • Infiniti FX37 '09–'13
  • Infiniti EX37 '09–'13
  • Infiniti QX50 '14–'17
  • Infiniti QX70 '14–'17
  • 325 to 343 hp (242 to 256 kW; 330 to 348 PS) Infiniti Q60 Convertible '14–'15
  • 328 hp (245 kW; 333 PS)
  • Infiniti G37 Sedan '09–'14
  • Nissan Skyline V36 370 GT Sedan '09–present
  • Nissan Fuga 370GT '09–present
  • Mitsubishi Proudia 370GT '12–present
  • Infiniti Q40 Sedan '15
  • Infiniti Q50 Sedan '14–'15
  • 330 hp (246 kW; 335 PS)
  • Infiniti G37 Coupe '08–'13
  • Nissan Skyline V36 370 GT Coupe '08–present
  • Infiniti M37 '11–'13
  • Infiniti Q70 '14–present
  • 330 to 348 hp (246 to 260 kW; 335 to 353 PS) Infiniti Q60 Coupé '14–'16
  • 332 hp (248 kW; 337 PS) Nissan 370Z/Fairlady Z '09–present
  • 343 hp (256 kW; 348 PS) Infiniti IPL G37 Convertible '13
  • 348 hp (260 kW; 353 PS) Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe '11–'16
  • 350 hp (261 kW; 355 PS) Nismo 370Z NISMO '09–present

Tuning the Nissan VQ37VHR and best VQ37VHR performance parts.

Best VQ37VHR mods

The optimum VQ37VHR parts on an engine are sensibly the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

Watch out for the Oil pump gears, the stock ones will not cope well with high RPM's and effectively break down.

We won't be swayed by popular VQ37VHR parts, they need to be cost effective. Intake camshaft upgrades are simply not required due to VVEL, but the exhaust side will benefit as this is not as complex and there is some room for improvement.

The cam profile plays a big part in the engines power output so cam upgrades make quite a large difference. The  exhaust durations around 272 degrees can allow better flow rates, and this doesn't involve the complex VVEL on the intake side so gives decent top end and low end torque output.

A Motorsport and race cam makes it harder when driving around busy urban areas.

You should ideally match your torque band to your driving style so for a typical daily driver stick with a shorter duration VQ37VHR cam

Different VQ37VHR engines respond better to more aggressive camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The map and injectors and fuel pump also will say much on the torque gains you'll achieve.

Altering valve 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. Exhaust 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 on the VQ37HR.
    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.

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

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

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

The VQ37VHR power trains respond well to upgrades and we're pleased to see that there is a lot of modifications and performance parts around.

Mapping should help to fully realize the full potential of all the parts you've done to your VQ37VHR and in this case you are really looking at an aftermarket ECU or piggyback setup.

The 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 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but the outcome often rely on the parts you've done and the condition of your engine.

It is the main goal to any engine tuning task to feed more fuel and air into the VQ37VHR engine

Intake carry the air from the air filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders.

Structure and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a large effect on to fuel engine efficiency on the VQ37VHR.

We often see intake manifold are improved through motorsport parts, although some makers provide reasonably good intake manifold.

Adding a VQ37VHR larger valve kit, carrying out VQ37VHR port enlargement and head flowing will also improve power, and significantly will make space for a greater power increase on other modifications.

VQ37VHR 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 VQ37VHR however there are some well designed kits around now, like the one from GTM.

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 a car has forced induction upgrades are giving better power gains and turbocharged engines are made with better components.

There are reliable limits for every engine, with some being very over engineered and some only able to handle stock power. Discover these restrictions and fit better quality components to utilize the power. From what we've heard our members and channel viewers mention around 650hp is the limit for stock internals, with people needing to replace rings, pistons and rods, and exhaust cams.

1000hp is certainly possible from the VQ37VHR design and we've seen tuners producing some very interesting projects.

We've seen tuners spending a fortune on turbo charger upgrades on the VQ37VHR only to watch the whole thing explode soon after it's used on the roads so set a reasonable power goal, address the traction issues and supply enough fuel and don't skimp on engine management.

Larger turbos tend to suffer no power at low rpm, and little turbos spool up quickly but do not have the high rpm power band gains.

In recent times the world of turbo chargers is always evolving and we commonly find variable vane turbo chargers, permitting the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and push these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo charger. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there is a restriction in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the VQ37VHR when a lot more air is being drawn into the engine.

Going up you'll find 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped bhp and 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 guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.


Fuel starvation is a problem on many tuned VQ37VHR projects, and better injectors fuel pump and improved fuel surge tank can go a long way to avoiding this problem

You'll need to improve the fuelling when you are increasing the torque - it makes the car more thirsty.It is important to be generous with your injector capacity.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when specifying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and affords 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.

All the following flywheel power targets will assume an injector duty cycle of 80% and a base of 58psi of fuel pressure at idle.

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

VQ37VHR Performance Exhausts

Only look to upgrade your exhaust if the current exhaust is creating a restriction in flow.
Exhaust headers are recommended and we've heard good things about those provided by Z1 motorsports.

A decent design will promote better scavenging and improve the flow rates and throughput from the engine.

Catalysts and headers are the primary sources of restriction but upgrades to these are not legal in all areas, so check the regs before you embark on going catless or decat.

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is fine 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 can help increase the flow of air through the engine.

But if the exhaust is too big, ie: over 3 inches bore, you will lose a lot of the flow rate and end up losing power and torque.

Typically exhaust restrictions come around the catalyst and filters 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 VQ37VHR

The VQ37VHR 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.

The engine tends to burn oil due to worn piston rings, the oil pump gears are also known to fail at high rpms which will impact the lubrication of the engine.

The intake cam & valve timing is very complex, and the cam or crank sensor failures can cause some serious running problems for you.

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.

Keep an eye on the oil consumption, piston ring and cylinder wear is exacerbated by poor quality fuel resulting in blow by.

Regular oil changes are vital on the VQ37VHR, 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 VQ37VHR engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss with our VQ37VHR owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which 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 VQ37VHR tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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