Modding upgrading and tuning the Nissan VG20DE engine!

Explore VG20DE Modifications"

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan VG20DE

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Nissan VG20DE engine!"

Popular tuning sites like TorqueCars are always getting messages asking how to improve the VG20DE from people inquiring about getting more power from the VG20DE and wanting to know what are the premier VG20DE power upgrades. So let us look into Nissan VG20DE mods and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some potential pitfalls along the way.

Car Tuning Tips will review VG20DE tuning and outline the optimum upgrades. Nissan VG20DE make awesome project engines and with carefully picked modified enhancements like a remap, turbo kits and camshafts you will noticeably enhance your driving enjoyment.

When talking about the optimum parts for your VG20DE engine, we are going to concentrate on the parts that give the biggest return for your cash.

VG20DE induction kits

Improving air intake on the VG20DE

You need fuel and air for an engine to work. If there is a lack of fuel then it will run lean, if there is not enough 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 it's important to any engine performance tuning job to feed air and fuel into your VG20DE but this has a knock on effect with the air flow sensor.

It is common that there is a limit in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the VG20DE when a lot more air is being sucked into the engine.

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

The intake plenum take the on the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine cylinders.

Structure and flow rate of the air Intake manifold can make a noticeable effect on to fuel atomisation on the VG20DE.

Many mass produced engine plenum chambers are improved through aftermarket parts, although some car makers provide well optimised plenum chambers.

Fitting big valve kits, carrying out port work and head flowing will also improve bhp, & importantly will give you raising the bhp increase on other parts.

VG20DE performance cam tips.

Each engine responds better to less aggressive cam durations so view each engine as unique.

The ecu map and fuelling also will make differences on the bhp gains you'll hit.

Longer valve 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 VG20DE can be made from camshaft upgrades. Changing the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the bhp and power output.

NB: Fast road cams normally push up the performance throughout the rpm range, you could drop a little low end bhp but your high end rpm power will be lifted.

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

A Motorsport and race cam is not great driving in heavy traffic.

You should ideally match your torque band to your usage of the car so for a car driven daily stick with a mild fast road VG20DE cam

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the VG20DE

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 VG20DE parts:

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

Stage 2 VG20DE parts:

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

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

Stage 3 VG20DE parts:

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

The VG20DE engines are great to work on and thanks to their popularity there are increasing numbers of upgrades and performance parts out there.

Mapping should help to release the full potential of all the tuning parts you've done to your VG20DE.

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 usually rely on the tuning parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the VG20DE

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 VG20DE.

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 is turbo charged parts are relatively easy and you'll see that turbocharged engines use better components.

However engines will need better parts at higher power limits

Discover these limits and fit better quality components to utilize the power.

There are many guys spending a loads of money on turbo charger upgrades on the VG20DE only to experience the VG20DE literally blow up on it's first outing after it's finished.

Large capacity turbochargers commonly suffer low end lag, and low capacity turbochargers spool up much more quickly but don't have the high rpm power band gains.

Thankfully the choice of turbos is always evolving and we are seeing variable vane turbos, permitting the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust gases into two channels and feed these at differently designed 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 performance gains, although more difficult to get working. We have this article on twincharging if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the VG20DE

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will have to look at the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a bhp hike. We strongly recommend you to be generous with your injector capacity.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% to the flow rate when specifying an injector, this accounts 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 VG20DE performance exhaust upgrades

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

On most factory exhausts you should find that 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 help increase the flow of air through the engine.

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

Usual exhaust restrictions can be traced to the catalyst installed, so adding a freer flowing high performance 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 VG20DE

Like most engines an VG20DE, 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 VG20DE, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned VG20DE 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 VG20DE why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about VG20DE tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their VG20DE.

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