Modding and performance tuning parts for the Nissan RD28T engine!

Car tuning tips:RD28T Modifications"

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan RD28T

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Nissan RD28T engine!"

RD28T engine – a robust and turbocharged powerplant that has left its mark in the realm of diesel performance.

The RD28T, introduced in the late 1980s, is a six-cylinder diesel engine that powered various Nissan models, including the Patrol and Safari. Renowned for its durability and torque, the RD28T became a favorite in markets where rugged reliability and off-road prowess were paramount.

In terms of specifications, the RD28T boasts a 2.8-liter displacement, showcasing Nissan's commitment to providing a balance of power and efficiency in a diesel engine. The inclusion of a turbocharger enhances the engine's performance, delivering a substantial increase in horsepower and torque.

The RD28T proudly features an overhead valve (OHV) configuration, a design known for its simplicity and durability. This choice aligns with the engine's intended use in challenging environments, where reliability and ease of maintenance are crucial.

One notable aspect of the RD28T is its torque delivery, a characteristic highly valued in off-road applications. The turbocharging, coupled with the engine's displacement, ensures that there is ample low-end torque, contributing to the vehicle's ability to tackle challenging terrains with ease.

As we explore the intricacies of the RD28T, we witness the embodiment of Nissan's dedication to creating diesel engines that withstand the test of time. The RD28T remains a notable chapter in the diesel engine legacy, known for its reliability, longevity, and the torque that propels vehicles through demanding landscapes.

The Nissan RD28T engine stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of robust diesel powerplants. Its role in the Nissan Patrol and Safari series echoes the brand's commitment to providing vehicles that conquer the toughest terrains with unwavering reliability. The RD28T is not just an engine; it's a symbol of durability that has left an indelible mark in the heart of the off-road community.

Forums like the one at TorqueCars often are seeing threads asking about how to improve the RD28T from people inquiring about getting more power from the RD28T and wanting to know what are the things tuners are recommending when it comes to RD28T power upgrades. So let us look into Nissan RD28T modifications and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some potential pitfalls along the way.

The Nissan RD28T make awesome project engines and with a few sensible tuning upgrades like a remap, turbo kits and camshafts you will certainly increase your driving fun.

Our aim here is to outline options for your RD28T tuning and summarise the optimum modifications for your car.

Just because particular modifications are appear in lots of RD28T projects it doesn't mean its worth having, instead we will focus on the top modifications that will give your RD28T the best power gain for you money.

Without us subscribing to the popular mentality of 'if it's shiny and makes more noise it must be good' you seem to get in many tuning magazines and on car forums'.

RD28T induction kits

Improving air intake on the RD28T

You need air matched to fuel for an engine to work. If there is too little fuel then it will run lean, if there is a lack of air it runs rich resulting in lost 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 aim to any performance tuning task to pull more air and fuel into the RD28T engine but this has a knock on effect with the air flow sensor.

It is common that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the RD28T when a lot more air is being fed into the engine.

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

Intake manifolds flow the on the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders.

Structure and flow characteristics of the air Intake manifold can make a large improvement to fuel delivery on the RD28T.

It's not uncommon that air intake manifolds are improved through aftermarket parts, although some OEM provide fairly well optimized air intake manifolds.

Adding a RD28T larger valve kit, getting port matching and head flowing will also lift torque, & more importantly will afford you a greater torque increase on other modifications.

RD28T performance cam tips.

Different RD28T engines respond better to different camshaft durations so view each engine as unique.

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

Altering valve 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.

Significant air intake, and exhaust improvements on the RD28T can be made from cam upgrades. Changing the cam profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the power band and power output.

NB: Fast road cams tend to bump the performance across the rev band, you might lose a little low down bhp but your top end will be better.

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

For a daily driver you should ideally to optimize your torque band to your driving style.

I'd be gobsmaked if you find a RD28T Motorsport cam is a pleasure to live with when driving around busy urban areas.

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the RD28T

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

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

Stage 1 RD28T parts:

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

Stage 2 RD28T parts:

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

Stage 3 RD28T parts:

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

The RD28T units are fantastic to work on and we're pleased to see that there is a growing number of modifications and performance parts out there.

ECU flashing will help release the full potential of all the parts you've done to your RD28T.

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 power output often differs on the parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the RD28T

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 RD28T.

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

When your car has a turbo already fitted mods are simpler to install and turbocharged engines use stronger components.

However you will find an engines have weakspots

Discover these limitations and fit higher quality components to survive the power.

There are many tuners spending a loads on turbocharger upgrades on the RD28T only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the whole thing throw a rod when it's finished.

Bigger turbo units will usually experience a bottom end lag, and low capacity turbo units spool up more quickly but do not have the peak rpm engines power gains.

Thanks to new tech the range of turbo chargers is always moving on and we now see variable vane turbo chargers, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and push these at differently angled vanes in the turbo charger. 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 power gains, although more difficult to install. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the RD28T

When you increase the power you will need to look at to the fuelling.

More power needs more fuel. It makes sense to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add another 20% when specifying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and affords 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 RD28T performance exhaust upgrades

The only time you should look to upgrade your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if your exhaust is actually causing a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you should find that your 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 balance the flow of gases through the engine.

But if your exhaust is too large, ie: it's over two and a half inches diameter, you will lose a lot of the exhaust flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

The usual suspects causing problems in your exhaust flow rate can be traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a better flowing race 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 RD28T

Like most engines an RD28T, 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 RD28T, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned RD28T 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 RD28T why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about RD28T tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their RD28T.

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