Modding and performance tuning parts for the Nissan VK56DE engine!

Explore VK56DE Modifications"

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan VK56DE

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Nissan VK56DE engine!"

Sites like TorqueCars are frequently seeing threads about how to improve the VK56DE from people inquiring about getting more power from the VK56DE and wanting to know what are the best VK56DE upgrades. So let us look into Nissan VK56DE upgrades and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some frequent tuning mistakes along the way.

The Nissan VK56DE are popular engines and with the best performance tuning mods like ECU maps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will really enhance your driving enjoyment.

Our aim here is to provide a guide to VK56DE tuning and report on the premier mods that work.

Just because particular tuning parts are appear in lots of VK56DE projects it doesn't mean you should fit it, instead we'll focus on the top tuning parts that will give your VK56DE the best value for money to power increase.

Without us subscribing to the popular myth 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 matched to fuel for an engine to work. If there is not enough fuel then it will run lean, if there is insufficient 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 air into the VK56DE engine is the aim to any engine modification job.

You'll commonly see there is a restriction in the air flow sensor AFM/MAF on the VK56DE when loads more air is being drawn into the engine.

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

Engine intake manifolds flow the air from the air cleaner and allow it to be sucked into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

The size of bore and shape and rate of flow of the Plenum can make a substantial improvement to fuel mixing and power on the VK56DE.

Most intake are in dire need of aftermarket parts, although some manufacturers provide reasonably well designed intake.

Adding a VK56DE larger valve kit, getting VK56DE port enlargement and head flowing will also lift bhp, and significantly will allow you to get a greater bhp increase on other modifications.

VK56DE performance cam tips.

Each engine responds better to less aggressive camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and fuelling also will make differences on the torque gains you'll make.

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 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 torque and power output.

NB: Fast road camshafts normally increase the performance across the rev band, you could drop a little low end power but top end will improve.

Competition camshafts, increase 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 need to optimize your bhp range to your usage of the car.

I would be surprised if you have ever thought a VK56DE Competition camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving 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:

Intake headers, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Remaps/piggy back ECU, 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 VK56DE parts:

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

Stage 3 VK56DE parts:

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

The VK56DE power plant respond well to mods and thankfully there are plenty of parts and tuning parts about.

ECU mapping helps release 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 end result will vary depending 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 impressive power gains.

When your car has a turbocharger parts are going to make more power and we find turbo engines already contain stronger components.

However engines have limits

It is important to find these limitations and fit better quality components to survive the power.

We've seen people spending a a stack of money on turbocharger upgrades on the VK56DE only to watch the motor literally blow up on it's first outing after it's used on the roads.

Larger upgraded turbo chargers will usually experience a bottom end lag, and little turbo chargers spool up more quickly but do not have the high rpm power band gains.

In the last 10 years the choice of turbo chargers is always increasing and we now see variable vane turbo chargers, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and feed these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo. They also help 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 complex to install. We have this article on twincharging if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the VK56DE

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so should ramp up the fuelling when you start extending past 20% of a torque hike. We would recommend you to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when buying an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and provides you 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 VK56DE performance exhaust upgrades

You only need to to replace your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if your exhaust is creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you'll see the 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.

Please dont run with the widest exhaust you can source this will slow up the exhaust flow rate - the best for power gains are usually between one and a half to two and half inches. Your exhaust design, the bend angles and construction are what have more effect on flow rates than your pipe width to a certain extent. So the exhaust design is a big factor.

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a freer flowing sports 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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