Modding and performance tuning parts for the Nissan RB20ET engine!

Tuners tips on "RB20ET Modifications"

RB20ET Modifications Guide

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan RB20ET

"Comprehensive guide to performance parts and tuning the Nissan RB20ET engine!"

Forums like the one at TorqueCars often are getting messages asking how to improve the RB20ET from people wanting to know what are the best tips on RB20ET modifications. So let us look into Nissan RB20ET parts and outline the best upgrades on this great engine and point out some potential pitfalls along the way.

The Nissan RB20ET offer good returns when tuned and with the right enhancements like a remap, turbo improvements and camshafts you will noticeably maximize your driving enjoyment.

We shall outline options for your RB20ET tuning and show the greatest mods that work.

The best RB20ET modifications on an engine are sensibly the ones that give the biggest return for your money.

We won't be swayed by popular RB20ET modifications, they need to be cost effective.

RB20ET induction kits

Improving air intake on the RB20ET

You need fuel and air for an engine to work. If there is too little fuel then it will run lean, if there is insufficient air it runs rich sapping power and potentially damaging the engine. We'll pick up on fuelling later in this article but for now we shall look at air supply.

So the fundamental goal to any engine tuning job to pull fuel and air into the RB20ET engine but this has a knock on effect with the air flow sensor.

You'll commonly see there is a limitation in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the RB20ET when considerably 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 sapped performance at a much lower level.

Engines intake headers flow the air during the suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Design and rate of flow of the air Intake manifold can make a big effect on to fuel atomisation on the RB20ET.

It's not uncommon that intake headers are crying out for motorsport parts, although a few makers provide decently flowing intake headers.

Fitting big valve kits, doing a bit of RB20ET port enlargement and head flowing will also raise bhp, & importantly will allow you to get an improved bhp increase on other parts.

RB20ET performance cam tips.

Different RB20ET engines respond better to extreme camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump also will make differences on the bhp gains you'll achieve.

Extending exhaust or intake durations can alter the bhp 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.

Significant air intake, and exhaust improvements on the RB20ET can be made from camshaft upgrades. Changing the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the torque and power output.

NB: Fast road camshafts usually boost the torque over the rev range, you could drop a little low down bhp but the high end rpm power will be higher.

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

For a daily driver you must carefully try to match your bhp range to your driving style.

I would be surprised if you have ever thought a RB20ET Competition cam is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic.

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the RB20ET

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 RB20ET parts:

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

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

Stage 2 RB20ET parts:

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

Stage 3 RB20ET parts:

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

The RB20ET engines respond well to upgrades and we see that there are plenty of mods and performance parts out there.

ECU mapping helps unlock the full potential of all the parts you've done to your RB20ET.

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 the end result usually differs on the parts you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the RB20ET

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 RB20ET.

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

When your motor has a turbocharger tuning mods are more reliable and you will discover turbo charged engines use stronger components.

There are reliable limits for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some only just able to handle stock power

We recommend you find these limits and install higher quality components to survive the power.

We see many tuners spending a lot of money on turbocharger upgrades on the RB20ET only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the car go up in smoke just after it's been enthusiastically driven.

Large capacity turbo units will usually suffer a bottom end lag, and low capacity turbo units spool up really quickly but don't have the top end engines power gains.

Over the last 20 years the world of turbo units is always developing and we commonly find variable vane turbo units, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into two channels and feed these at differently angled vanes in the turbo charger. They also improve 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 gains, although more difficult to configure. We have this article covering twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the RB20ET

When you increase the power you will need to pay attention to to the fuel system.

More power needs more fuel. We would recommend you to be generous with your injector capacity.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% when fitting an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and affords a bit of 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 RB20ET performance exhaust upgrades

The only time you should look to replace your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if your current exhaust is actually creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the exhaust flow rate is 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 generally help improve 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 as a rule of thumb.

Usual exhaust restrictions are in the emissions filters installed, so adding a better flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

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

Faults issues and things to look out for on the RB20ET

Like most engines an RB20ET, 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 RB20ET, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned RB20ET 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 RB20ET why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about RB20ET tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their RB20ET.

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