Modding upgrading and tuning the Nissan VK56DE engine!

Tuning guide "VK56DE Modifications"

VK56DE Modifications Guide

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan VK56DE

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Nissan VK56DE engine!"

Our friends at TorqueCars are regularly getting messages requesting info on how to improve the VK56DE from people wanting to know what are the optimum VK56DE upgrades. So let us look into Nissan VK56DE parts and outline the best upgrades on this great engine and point out some frequent tuning mistakes along the way.

Now we shall examine VK56DE tuning and point out the best upgrades. Nissan VK56DE are popular tuning projects and with a few sensible modified upgrades like remapping, turbo kits and camshafts you will greatly increase your driving fun.

Just because particular parts are are common on VK56DE it doesn't mean its worth having, so we'll focus on the best parts that will give your VK56DE the biggest power gain return for your cash.

Without us subscribing to the misaprehension 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'.

VK56DE induction kits

Improving air intake on the VK56DE

You need air and fuel for an engine to work. If there is not enough fuel then it will run lean, if there is little flow 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 goal to any engine performance tuning project to push air into each cylinder but this has a knock on effect with the air flow sensor.

It is not unusual that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the VK56DE when a lot more air is being drawn into the engine.

We note 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited bhp and torque at a much lower level.

The intake plenum take the during the engines suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be fed into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Design and rate of flow of the air Intake manifold can make a big change to fuel delivery on the VK56DE.

It's not uncommon that intake manifold are crying out for a performance upgrade, although a few manufacturers provide decently flowing intake manifold.

Adding a VK56DE larger valve kit, carrying out VK56DE port enlargement and head flowing will also raise bhp and torque, and as an added benefit will raise potential for raising the bhp and torque increase on other upgrades.

VK56DE performance cam tips.

Some VK56DE engines respond better to less aggressive cam durations so view each engine as unique.

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

Longer 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 VK56DE can be made from camshaft upgrades. Changing the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the power band and power output.

NB: Fast road cams usually bump the torque over the rev range, you may sacrifice a little bottom end torque but your higher rpm power will be better.

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

For a road car you must carefully try to optimize your engines power to your preferences.

I'd be shocked if you find a VK56DE Motorsport cam is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic.

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the VK56DE

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 VK56DE parts:

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

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

Stage 2 VK56DE parts:

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

Stage 3 VK56DE parts:

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

The VK56DE engines make great tuning projects and we're finding that there is a lot of upgrades and performance parts around.

Mapping will help unlock the full potential of all the parts you've done to your VK56DE.

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 the outcome usually differs on the parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the VK56DE

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 VK56DE.

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 motor is turbo charged tuning mods are more reliable and you'll see that turbo engines are made with uprated components.

There are weak spots for every engine, with some being over specified and some just sufficiently able to handle stock power

We recommend you find these restrictions and upgrade to better quality components to utilize the power.

There are many people spending a lot of money on turbocharger upgrades on the VK56DE only to have the engine block explode on it's first outing after it's been enthusiastically driven.

Big upgraded turbos often suffer a bottom end lag, and little turbos spool up really quickly but don't have the peak rpm power band gains.

Thanks to progress the choice of turbo chargers is always developing and we now see variable vane turbo chargers, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust gases into two channels and flow 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 power gains, although more difficult to configure. We have this article covering twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the VK56DE

Don't forget to increase the fuel system when you are increasing the bhp - it makes the car more thirsty. Experienced mechanics will tell you to over specify your injectors flow rate.

As a rule of thumb add 20% capacity when buying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and gives a little 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 VK56DE performance exhaust upgrades

You should look to upgrade your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if your exhaust is creating 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 generally help improve air flow from the engine but do not go too wide or you could will reduce the flow rate. Stick to one and a half to two and half inches for best results.

Typically exhaust restrictions can be located the emissions filters installed, so adding a better flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

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

Faults issues and things to look out for on the VK56DE

Like most engines an VK56DE, 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 VK56DE, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned VK56DE 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 VK56DE why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about VK56DE tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their VK56DE.

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