Modding upgrading and tuning the Nissan TB42E engine!

All you need to know about "TB42E Modifications"

TB42E Modifications Guide

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan TB42E

"Comprehensive guide to performance tuning the Nissan TB42E engine!"

TorqueCars often are getting messages about how to improve the TB42E from people wanting to know what are the premier TB42E power upgrades. So let us look into Nissan TB42E upgrades and outline the best upgrades on this great engine and point out some frequent tuning mistakes along the way.

The Nissan TB42E are popular engines and with carefully picked performance upgrades like ECU maps, turbo kits and camshafts you will definitely improve your driving enjoyment.

Here we look at TB42E tuning and report on the ultimate upgrades.

When talking about the best parts for your TB42E engine, we are going to concentrate on the upgrades that give the best value for money.

TB42E induction kits

Improving air intake on the TB42E

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 little flow of air it runs rich resulting in lost power . We'll pick up on fuelling later in this article but for now we shall look at air supply.

So Forcing more air into each cylinder is the main goal to any engine tuning task.

You'll commonly see there's a restriction in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the TB42E when a lot more air is being sucked 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 sapped bhp and torque at a much lower level.

Air Intake manifolds flow the air during the suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be fed into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

The shape and rate of flow of the Air Intake manifolds can make a large change to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the TB42E.

I usually find headers are begging for aftermarket tuning parts, although some manufacturers provide reasonably well designed headers.

Larger TB42E valves, doing a bit of port matching and head flowing will also improve performance, and significantly will make space for a greater performance increase on other mods.

TB42E performance cam tips.

Different TB42E engines respond better to different cam durations so view each engine as unique.

The engine timing and fuel pump and injectors also have an effect on the power gains you'll get.

A longer valve duration 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.

Altering your TB42E camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the bhp accordingly.

NB: Fast road cams tend to raise the performance across the rev band, you could drop a little low end torque but your higher rpm power will be higher.

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

A Race cam won't do well if on the daily commute.

You should ideally match your engines power to your cars usage so for a typical daily driver stick with a shorter duration TB42E cam

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the TB42E

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 TB42E parts:

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

Stage 2 TB42E parts:

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

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

Stage 3 TB42E parts:

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

The TB42E engines respond well to mods and we're finding that there are quite a few choices of modifications and tuning parts around.

Mapping should help to to establish the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your TB42E.

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 usually depend much on the upgrades you've done and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the TB42E

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 TB42E.

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.

When the engine has forced induction tuning parts are going to net you a larger power gain and turbocharged engines are built with harder and stronger components.

However most engines have limits

Research these limits and fit stronger pistons, crank and engine components to survive the power.

We've seen car owners spending a fortune on turbocharger upgrades on the TB42E only to experience the engine throw a rod soon after it's first rolling road session.

Larger upgraded turbo units tend to experience no power at low rpm, and small turbo units spool up quickly but do not have the high rpm bhp gains.

Thankfully the choice of turbochargers is always improving and we commonly find variable vane turbochargers, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

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

Beefing up the air intake by adding a supercharger or additional turbo will help you achieve very large torque gains, although more challenging to get working. We have this article covering twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the TB42E

When you lift the bhp and torque you will need to uprate to the fuel system.

More bhp and torque needs more fuel. It is important to be generous with your injector capacity.

As a rule of thumb add 15% capacity when specifying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and allows 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 TB42E performance exhaust upgrades

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

On most factory exhausts you'll find your 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 generally help improve air flow through the engine but do not go too large or you may end up will reduce the flow rate. Stick to one and a half to two and half inches for best results.

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalyst and filters installed, so adding a faster flowing sports alternative will help avoid this restriction.

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

Faults issues and things to look out for on the TB42E

Like most engines an TB42E, 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 TB42E, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned TB42E 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 TB42E why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about TB42E tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their TB42E.

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 upgrades on your TB42E, 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.

Check out TorqueCars new YouTube channel, and see their awesome new content...


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

Your Constructive comments on this article