Modding upgrading and tuning the Nissan HR16DE engine!

Explore HR16DE Modifications"

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan HR16DE

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Nissan HR16DE engine!"

Sites like TorqueCars often are getting messages requesting info on how to improve the HR16DE from people wanting to know what are the best tips on HR16DE mods that work. So let us look into Nissan HR16DE upgrades and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some problems along the way.

Let us outline options for your HR16DE tuning and provide tips on the premier modifications for your car. Nissan HR16DE are popular tuning projects and with the ultimate uprated upgrades like remaps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will greatly enhance your driving pleasure.

When talking about the top parts for your HR16DE engine, we are going to concentrate on the upgrades that give the biggest return for your cash.

HR16DE induction kits

Improving air intake on the HR16DE

You need air matched to fuel for an engine to work. If there is not enough fuel then it will run lean, if there is insufficient air it runs rich losing power . We'll pick up on fuelling later in this article but for now we shall look at air supply.

So it's important to any car tuning project to pull more air and fuel into your HR16DE but this has a knock on effect with the air flow sensor.

It is common that there's a limitation in the air flow sensor AFM/MAF on the HR16DE when loads 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 was restricting bhp and torque at a much lower level.

Intake carry the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine cylinders.

Structure and flow rate of the Headers can make a substantial change to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the HR16DE.

On popular production engines headers are needing motorsport parts, although some OEM provide reasonably good headers.

Adding a HR16DE larger valve kit, doing a bit of HR16DE port enlargement and head flowing will also boost bhp and torque, and significantly will permit an improved bhp and torque increase on other upgrades.

HR16DE performance cam tips.

Some HR16DE engines respond better to more or less aggressive cam durations so view each engine as unique.

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump also have an effect on the torque gains you'll get.

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.

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

NB: Fast road cams tend to push up the power through the rpm band, you could sacrifice a little bottom end bhp but your top end will be lifted.

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

A Race camshaft is not great driving in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your bhp range to your usage of the car so for a road car stick with a mild fast road HR16DE camshaft

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the HR16DE

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 HR16DE parts:

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

Stage 2 HR16DE parts:

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

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

Stage 3 HR16DE parts:

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

The HR16DE engine blocks are great to work on and we're pleased to see that there are quite a few choices of parts and tuning parts around.

A remap allows a tuner to to establish the full potential of all the parts you've done to your HR16DE.

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 results usually rely on the parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the HR16DE

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 HR16DE.

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

If a car is fitted with a turbocharger upgrades are going to net you a larger power gain and we find turbo charged engines are built with harder and stronger components.

There are reliable limits for every engine, with some being extremely strong and some only able to handle stock power

Research these limits and install higher quality components to utilize the power.

There are many mechanics spending a a stack of money on turbo upgrades on the HR16DE only to watch the engine literally blow up soon after it's been enthusiastically driven.

Large turbos often experience a bottom end lag, and low capacity turbos spool up really quickly but do not have the top end power band gains.

Over the last 20 years the choice of turbo chargers is always increasing and we commonly find variable vane turbo chargers, permitting the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and direct these at differently angled vanes in the turbo. They also boost 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 difficult to install. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the HR16DE

Don't omit to boost the fuel system when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty. We would recommend you to over specify your injectors flow rate.

As a rule of thumb add 15% to the flow rate when specifying an injector, this allows for 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 HR16DE performance exhaust upgrades

You only need to to increase your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if the existing exhaust is actually causing a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the exhaust flow rate is still fine 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 can usually air flow through the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big or you may end up will reduce the flow rate. Stick to one and a half to two and half inches for best results.

The usual suspects causing problems in your exhaust flow rate are in the catalyst installed, so adding a higher flowing performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

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

Faults issues and things to look out for on the HR16DE

Like most engines an HR16DE, 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 HR16DE, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned HR16DE 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 HR16DE why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about HR16DE tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their HR16DE.

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