Modding tuning and best performance upgrades on the Nissan VK56VD engine!

Explore VK56VD Modifications"

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan VK56VD

"Comprehensive guide to performance tuning the Nissan VK56VD engine!"

Popular tuning sites like TorqueCars are regularly getting emails asking about how to improve the VK56VD from people inquiring about getting more power from the VK56VD and wanting to know what are the optimum VK56VD power upgrades. So let us look into Nissan VK56VD parts and outline the best modifications on this great engine and point out some problems along the way.

Here we consider VK56VD tuning and outline the best mods that work. Nissan VK56VD make a good tuning project and with carefully chosen enhancements like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will definitely maximize your driving experience.

Just because particular parts are appear in lots of VK56VD projects it doesn't mean its worth having, we shall focus on the ultimate parts that will give your VK56VD the best value for money to power increase.

Without us subscribing to the 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'.

VK56VD induction kits

Improving air intake on the VK56VD

You need fuel and air for an engine to work. If there is insufficient fuel then it will run lean, if there is little flow of air it runs rich losing power . We'll pick up on fuelling later in this article but for now we shall look at air supply.

So the whole point to any engine performance tuning task to feed more fuel and air into your VK56VD but this has a knock on effect with the air flow sensor.

You'll commonly see there's a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the VK56VD when loads more air is being drawn into the engine.

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

Intake manifolds take the air from the intake filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Shape and flow rate of the Air Intake manifolds can make a big improvement to fuel delivery on the VK56VD.

It's not uncommon that intake manifold are in dire need of aftermarket parts, although a few manufacturers provide reasonably good intake manifold.

Increasing the VK56VD valve size, getting VK56VD port enlargement and head flowing will also lift performance, & importantly will allow you to get a greater performance increase on other upgrades.

VK56VD performance cam tips.

Some VK56VD engines respond better to more or less aggressive cam durations than others.

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump also have an effect on the power gains you'll hit.

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.

Altering your VK56VD camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine torque. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the torque accordingly.

NB: Fast road camshafts usually bump the bhp throughout the rpm band, you could drop a little bottom end power but higher rpm power will be higher.

Motorsport and race camshafts, bump the higher rpm power 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 engines power to your driving style.

I'd never have found a VK56VD Race camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving around busy urban areas.

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the VK56VD

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 VK56VD parts:

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

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

Stage 2 VK56VD parts:

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

Stage 3 VK56VD parts:

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

Carefully think through your options and then buy your tuning mods and set yourself a power target to save yourself from expensive mistakes.

Mapping helps fully realize the full potential of all the tuning mods you've done to your VK56VD.

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 results may depend much on the tuning mods you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the VK56VD

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 VK56VD.

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 a car is fitted with a turbocharger tuning mods are simpler to install and most turbo charged engines use better components.

There are tuning limits for every engine, with some being over specified and some only just able to handle stock power

It is important to find these limits and upgrade to forged components to handle the power.

There are many car owners spending a a stack of money on turbocharger upgrades on the VK56VD only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the VK56VD catastrophically fail just after it's finished.

Large capacity turbos commonly suffer a bottom end lag, and little turbos spool up quickly but don't have the peak end power band gains.

We are pleased that the selection of turbos is always developing and we commonly find variable vane turbos, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust flow into two channels and feed these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo charger. They also increase 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 get working. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the VK56VD

When you boost the bhp and torque you will need to uprate to the fuelling.

More bhp and torque needs more fuel. It is important to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

As a rule of thumb add another 15% when specifying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and allows a bit of 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 VK56VD performance exhaust upgrades

You should look to uprate your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if the existing exhaust is creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the flow rate is 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 your exhaust pipe is too big, ie: it's over two and a half inches diameter, you will lose much of the flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the filters installed, so adding a freer flowing performance 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 VK56VD

Like most engines an VK56VD, 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 VK56VD, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned VK56VD 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 VK56VD why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about VK56VD tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their VK56VD.

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