Modding upgrading and tuning the Nissan VK45DE engine!

Car tuning tips:VK45DE Modifications"

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan VK45DE

"Comprehensive guide to performance tuning the Nissan VK45DE engine!"

Popular tuning sites like TorqueCars often are seeing threads asking about how to improve the VK45DE from people wanting to know what are the best tips for VK45DE modifications. So let us look into Nissan VK45DE mods and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some potential pitfalls along the way.

The Nissan VK45DE really good project engines and with a few sensible modified modifications like a remap, turbo improvements and camshafts you will certainly enhance your driving pleasure.

In this article we examine the options for your VK45DE tuning and outline the best mods that work.

When talking about the best parts for your VK45DE engine, we are going to focus on the ones that give the best value for money.

VK45DE induction kits

Improving air intake on the VK45DE

You need air and fuel for an engine to work. If there is too little fuel then it will run lean, if there is not enough 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 fuel and air into each cylinder is the aim to any tuning job.

You'll commonly see there's a restriction in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the VK45DE when considerably 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 performance at a much lower level.

Intake headers flow the air from the intake filter and allow it to be fed into the engine cylinders.

Structure and rate of flow of the Intake can make a substantial improvement to fuel atomisation on the VK45DE.

I usually find headers are ripe for an upgrade, although some manufacturers provide reasonably well designed headers.

Big valve conversions on the VK45DE, carrying out VK45DE port enlargement and head flowing will also lift torque, & importantly will afford you an improved torque increase on other mods.

VK45DE performance cam tips.

Different VK45DE engines respond better to extreme cam durations than others.

The ecu map and fuelling also have a large bearing on the bhp gains you'll make.

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.

Altering your VK45DE cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the bhp accordingly.

NB: Fast road cams commonly bump the power through the rpm band, you may sacrifice a little low down bhp but 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.

A Motorsport cam makes it harder when in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your bhp range to your typical driving style so for a road car stick with a shorter duration VK45DE cam

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the VK45DE

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 VK45DE parts:

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

Stage 2 VK45DE parts:

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

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

Stage 3 VK45DE parts:

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

The VK45DE power plant are great to work on and thankfully there are increasing numbers of upgrades and tuning parts about.

A remap should help to release the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your VK45DE.

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 your mileage may rely on the upgrades you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the VK45DE

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 VK45DE.

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.

If a car is turbo charged mods are going to net you a larger power gain and turbocharged engines are built with many forged and stronger components.

However you'll find engines have limits

Research these limits and install better quality components to utilize the power.

It's not unheard of car owners spending a lots of money on turbo charger upgrades on the VK45DE only to experience the whole thing literally blow up when it's used in anger.

Bigger upgraded turbochargers tend to experience low end lag, and little turbochargers spool up much more quickly but don't have the top end torque gains.

Over the last 20 years the world of turbo units is always evolving and we are seeing variable vane turbo units, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and direct these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo. 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 power gains, although more difficult to configure. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the VK45DE

Don't overlook the need to boost the fuel system when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty. Care modifiers usually say to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when buying an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and gives a little 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 VK45DE performance exhaust upgrades

We'd only recommend you look to upgrade your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if the existing exhaust is actually creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the exhaust 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 can help balance the flow of air through the engine.

But if your exhaust pipe is too big, ie: 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 catalysts 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 VK45DE

Like most engines an VK45DE, 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 VK45DE, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned VK45DE 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 VK45DE why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about VK45DE tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their VK45DE.

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