Modding tuning and best performance upgrades on the Nissan RB20E engine!

Tuners tips on "RB20E Modifications"

RB20E Modifications Guide

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan RB20E

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Nissan RB20E engine!"

Popular tuning sites like TorqueCars are always getting emails asking about how to improve the RB20E from people inquiring about getting more power from the RB20E and wanting to know what are the things tuners recommend when it comes to RB20E modifications. So let us look into Nissan RB20E upgrades and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some frequent tuning mistakes along the way.

The Nissan RB20E provide a fun base for your project and with the best uprated upgrades like remapping, turbo improvements and camshafts you will really enhance your driving pleasure.

Let us review RB20E tuning and outline the best modifications for your car.

When talking about the greatest parts for your RB20E engine, we are going to focus on the ones that give the best value for money.

RB20E induction kits

Improving air intake on the RB20E

You need fuel and air for an engine to work. If there is insufficient fuel then it will run lean, if there is little flow of 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 the aim to any car tuning project to feed fuel and air into each cylinder but this has a knock on effect with the air flow sensor.

You'll commonly see there's a limit in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the RB20E when loads more air is being pulled into the engine.

When tuning you may well find you need to get an air sensor or flow meter capable of upto 4 bars to cope with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited performance at a much lower level.

Intake carry the air during the suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Structure and rate of flow of the Air Intake manifolds can make a substantial improvement to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the RB20E.

Commonly we find the plenum chambers are begging for motorsport parts, although some car makers provide fairly well optimized plenum chambers.

Big valve conversions on the RB20E, carrying out 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also raise torque, this will give you a better torque increase on other modifications.

RB20E performance cam tips.

Each engine responds better to extreme camshaft durations than others.

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

Extending exhaust or intake 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.

Altering your RB20E camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the bhp accordingly.

NB: Fast road camshafts commonly increase the bhp and torque throughout the rpm band, you may sacrifice a little bottom end power but your top end will be lifted.

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

A Motorsport cam makes it harder when driving in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your torque band to your typical driving style so for a road car stick with a shorter duration RB20E cam

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the RB20E

Stage 1 RB20E parts:

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

Stage 2 RB20E parts:

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

Stage 3 RB20E parts:

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

The RB20E power trains make great tuning projects and we see that there is an increase of modifications and tuning parts out there.

Remapping allows a tuner to fully realize the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your RB20E.

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 figures achieved often vary depending on the upgrades you've applied and the condition of your engine.

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

Turbo modifications on the RB20E

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 RB20E.

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

If an engine is turbo charged parts are simpler to install and turbo engines will have better components.

However you will find an engines will need better parts at higher power limits

Research these limits and install better quality components to handle the power.

There are many people spending a lots of money on turbo upgrades on the RB20E only to see the RB20E catastrophically fail soon after it's finished.

Bigger capacity turbo units often suffer a bottom end lag, and low capacity turbo units spool up more quickly but do not have the top end torque gains.

Thanks to new tech the market of turbo chargers is always developing and we are seeing variable vane turbo chargers, allowing 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 two channels and feed these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. 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 bhp and torque gains, although more challenging to get working. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the RB20E

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so should increase the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a torque hike. Experienced tuners recommend to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% when fitting an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and allows some spare capacity should the engine need 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 RB20E performance exhaust upgrades

You may need to upgrade your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if your current exhaust is creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the exhaust flow rate is 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 generally help improve air flow out of the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big or you could 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 come around the catalyst and filters installed, so adding a faster flowing performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

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

Faults issues and things to look out for on the RB20E

Like most engines an RB20E, 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 RB20E, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned RB20E 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 RB20E why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about RB20E tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their RB20E.

We need your help to complete and improve this page, so do give us your feedback in the comments box below.

We want to know your experiences with modifications on your RB20E, it helps us improve our tips and keeps us current so please use the comments box to drop a tip.

If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

Feedback

Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

You must be logged in to post a comment.