Modding tuning and best performance upgrades on the Nissan VQ30DE engine!

Find out about "VQ30DE Modifications"

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan VQ30DE

"Comprehensive guide to tuning and performance parts on the Nissan VQ30DE engine!"

Popular tuning sites like TorqueCars are always seeing threads asking how to improve the VQ30DE from people inquiring about getting more power from the VQ30DE and wanting to know what are the best tips for VQ30DE modifications. So let us look into Nissan VQ30DE parts and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some problems along the way.

The Nissan VQ30DE make awesome project engines and with carefully picked sports parts like ECU maps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will really increase your driving pleasure.

Our aim here is to review and look at VQ30DE tuning and highlight the ultimate modifications for your car.

Just because particular upgrades are are common on VQ30DE it doesn't mean it is good, instead we'll concentrate on the best upgrades that will give your VQ30DE the best power gain for you spend.

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'.

VQ30DE induction kits

Improving air intake on the VQ30DE

You need fuel and air 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 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 Feeding more air into your VQ30DE is vital to any engine upgrade project.

It is common that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the VQ30DE when a lot more air is being fed into the engine.

You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped torque at a much lower level.

Intake manifolds transmit the air from the filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

The shape and flow characteristics of the air Intake manifold can make a large change to fuel mixing and power on the VQ30DE.

On popular production engines headers are improved through aftermarket parts, although some manufacturers provide well optimised headers.

Increasing the VQ30DE valve size, doing a bit of 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also increase performance, and significantly will afford you raising the performance increase on other upgrades.

VQ30DE performance cam tips.

Some VQ30DE engines respond better to more aggressive camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and fuel pump and injectors also will say much on the torque gains you'll achieve.

Longer valve 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.

Significant air intake, and exhaust improvements on the VQ30DE 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 cams normally boost the performance across the rev band, you may sacrifice a little low end bhp but your top end will improve.

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

In a typical daily driver you should ideally to optimize your power band to your usage of the car.

I'd be amazed if you find a VQ30DE Motorsport camshaft is a pleasure to live with when on the daily commute.

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the VQ30DE

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 VQ30DE parts:

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

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

Stage 2 VQ30DE parts:

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

Stage 3 VQ30DE 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).

Carefully think through your options and then source your tuning parts and set yourself a power target to avoid disappointment.

ECU flashing allows a tuner to to establish the full potential of all the parts you've done to your VQ30DE.

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 will vary depending on the parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the VQ30DE

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 VQ30DE.

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

If your car is fitted with a turbocharger parts are simpler to install and you'll see that turbo engines are built with stronger components.

However every engines have limits

We recommend you find these restrictions and install better pistons and crank to handle the power.

We see many drivers spending a a stack of money on turbo upgrades on the VQ30DE only to suffer the indignity of watching the VQ30DE catastrophically fail soon after it's first rolling road session.

Larger upgraded turbochargers commonly experience a bottom end lag, and smaller turbochargers spool up more quickly but won't have the peak rpm engines power gains.

Thanks to new tech the world of turbo units is always developing and we now see variable vane turbo units, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and flow 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 and torque gains, although more challenging to setup. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the VQ30DE

Don't omit to look at the fuel delivery when you are increasing the bhp - it makes the car more thirsty. We would recommend you to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add another 15% when buying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and provides 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 VQ30DE 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 the exhaust flow rate is ok 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 usually air flow out of the engine but do not go 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 traced to the filters installed, so adding a better flowing high performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

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

Faults issues and things to look out for on the VQ30DE

Like most engines an VQ30DE, 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 VQ30DE, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned VQ30DE 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 VQ30DE why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about VQ30DE tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their VQ30DE.

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 VQ30DE, 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