Modding and performance tuning parts for the Nissan CR12DE engine!

Tuning guide "CR12DE Modifications"

CR12DE Modifications Guide

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan CR12DE

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Nissan CR12DE engine!"

Popular tuning sites like TorqueCars are frequently getting posts requesting info on how to improve the CR12DE from people wanting to know what are the things tuners are recommending when it comes to CR12DE mods that work. So let us look into Nissan CR12DE tuning mods and outline the best upgrades on this great engine and point out some problems along the way.

Now we shall review CR12DE tuning and point out the premier modifications for your car. Nissan CR12DE are popular engines and with carefully picked modified modifications like a remap, turbo improvements and camshafts you will really improve your driving experience.

When talking about the best parts for your CR12DE engine, we are going to focus on the tuning parts that give the best power gain for you spend.

CR12DE induction kits

Improving air intake on the CR12DE

You need air matched to fuel for an engine to work. If there is little supply of fuel then it will run lean, if there is insufficient air it runs rich losing power which risks damage to the CR12DE. We'll pick up on fuelling later in this article but for now we shall look at air supply.

So Feeding more fuel and air into the CR12DE engine is the primary aim to any tuning job.

You'll commonly see there is a restriction in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the CR12DE when loads more air is being fed into the engine.

We note 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped torque at a much lower level.

Intake take the air from the air cleaner and allow it to be fed into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

The shape and flow characteristics of the Intake headers can make a big improvement to fuel atomisation on the CR12DE.

I usually find headers are improved through aftermarket parts, although a few manufacturers provide reasonably good headers.

Adding a CR12DE larger valve kit, getting 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also lift performance, and as an added benefit will make space for an improved performance increase on other parts.

CR12DE performance cam tips.

Different CR12DE engines respond better to mild cam durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The map and injectors and fuel pump also will make differences on the power gains you'll get.

Extending exhaust or intake 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.

The cam profile plays a big part in the engines power output so cam upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake and exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen cam profile, so large engines power gains are on offer for cam upgrades.

NB: Fast road cams tend to bump the performance through the rpm range, you might lose a little low down torque but the higher rpm power will be better.

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

A Motorsport and race cam will just annoy you whilst driving around busy urban areas.

You should ideally match your engines power to your driving style so for a typical daily driver stick with a shorter duration CR12DE cam

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the CR12DE

Before we break the best tuning upgrades down into stages of tune, let's list the most effective tuning upgrades for you.

  1. Suspension Upgrades - always improve your cars handling
  2. Brake Upgrades - Even before adding power improve those brakes
  3. Intake - make sure the intake is not restricted, use filters and intake upgrades to improve this
  4. Exhaust - as with 3 ensure there is not restriction in the exhaust, cats are the usual bottleneck
  5. Tunes - remapping, piggyback ECU's and aftermarket ECU's can all make decent gains
  6. Fuelling - when you've increased power you'll need to match this with more fuel
  7. Turbo upgrades - Improving the intake with a large turbo and better flowing intercooler will be the biggest power gain you'll see (but one of the most complex).

This video guide to tuning cars is a great starting point to work from in your project.

Stage 1 CR12DE parts:

Intake headers, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Fast road camshaft, Sports exhaust manifold, Panel air filters, Drilled & smoothed airbox.

Tuning tips and articles Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Stage 2 CR12DE parts:

fuel pump upgrades, Ported and polished head, Fast road cam, high flow fuel injectors, induction kit, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust.

Stage 3 CR12DE parts:

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

The CR12DE engines make great tuning projects and we're happy to report there is a growing number of parts and performance parts about.

Remapping allows a tuner to unlock the full potential of all the modifications you've done to your CR12DE.

You will typically expect to see gains of approximately 20-30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but your mileage may differs on the modifications you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the CR12DE

To get a turbo working on a NASP engine there is a lot involved, from lowering compression ratio to improved fuel supply and mapping, so we have found a great guide to helpavoid the common pitfalls or end up with an unfinished project because you were not told what you were getting into by doing this on the CR12DE.

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

When your motor is fitted with a turbo tuning parts are going to make more power and we find turbo charged engines already contain many forged and stronger components.

There are tuning limits for every engine, with some being very over engineered and some only just able to handle stock power

See where you'll find these limits and install better quality components to survive the power.

We see many mechanics spending a loads on turbocharger upgrades on the CR12DE only to see the motor catastrophically fail soon after it's been completed.

Big capacity turbo units commonly suffer low end lag, and low capacity turbo units spool up really quickly but don't have the top end torque gains.

Thanks to progress the range of turbochargers is always improving and we are seeing variable vane turbochargers, permitting the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust gases into two channels and feed these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

Beefing up the air intake by adding a supercharger or additional turbo will help you achieve very large performance gains, although more complex to install. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the CR12DE

When you increase the bhp you will need to uprate to the fuel system.

More bhp needs more fuel. We would recommend you to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

As a rule of thumb add 15% when fitting an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and gives you some spare capacity should the engine require more fuel.

Don't forget that different fuel grades will usually require different settings, a high octane fuel will burn more efficiently than lower octane fuel for example. A car will trim fuel supply to keep within the ideal air fuel mix but at the extreme ends you may need to adjust your injector capacity, or the mapping or you'll get flat spots and potential lean or rich fuel issues..

Recommended CR12DE performance exhaust upgrades

You may need to increase your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if the current exhaust is actually causing a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the flow rate is still good even on modest power gains, but on a serious tuning project with a big boost in power you will certainly need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow from the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too wide or you could will reduce the flow rate. Stick to one and a half to two and half inches as a rule of thumb.

Typically exhaust restrictions are in the catalysts installed, so adding a faster flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Catalyst removal (NB:catalysts reduce harmful engine emissions) is illegal in most countries and regions.

Faults issues and things to look out for on the CR12DE

Like most engines an CR12DE, should have few issues if it gets properly serviced and looked after.

We cannot stress enough the need for oil changes with the correct grade of oil on the CR12DE, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned CR12DE this is more important than ever and close attention should be paid to your maintenance schedule.

If you are interested in learning more or getting impartial tuning advice for your CR12DE why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about CR12DE tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their CR12DE.

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