Modding uprating the Nissan CA20 DE DET engine!

Tuners tips on "CA20 DE DET Modifications"

CA20 DE DET Modifications Guide

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan CA20 DE DET

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Nissan CA20 DE DET engine!"

TorqueCars are frequently getting messages asking how to improve the CA20 DE DET from people wanting to know what are the optimum CA20 DE DET mods that work. So let us look into Nissan CA20 DE DET parts and outline the best upgrades on this great engine and point out some common pitfalls along the way.

This pages aim is look into CA20 DE DET tuning and point out the premier upgrades. Nissan CA20 DE DET offer good returns when tuned and with the optimum performance upgrades like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will definitely maximise your driving enjoyment.

The ultimate CA20 DE DET upgrades on an engine are obviously the ones that give the best power gain for your hard earned cash.

We won't be swayed by popular CA20 DE DET upgrades, they need to be cost effective.

CA20 DE DET induction kits

Improving air intake on the CA20 DE DET

You need fuel and air for an engine to work. If there is insufficient fuel then it will run lean, if there is too little 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 Pulling more fuel and air into your CA20 DE DET is the main goal to any engine tuning job.

It is not unusual that there's a limit in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the CA20 DE DET when considerably more air is being fed into the engine.

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

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

Shape and flow characteristics of the Plenum can make a substantial difference to to fuel atomisation on the CA20 DE DET.

Many mass produced engine intake are in dire need of aftermarket tuning parts, although a few car makers provide reasonably good intake.

Increasing the CA20 DE DET valve size, doing some port matching and head flowing will also raise power, & more importantly will give you a greater power increase on other upgrades.

CA20 DE DET performance cam tips.

Some CA20 DE DET engines respond better to different cam durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The engine timing and fuelling also have an effect on the bhp gains you'll hit.

A longer valve duration 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 CA20 DE DET camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine power band. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the power band accordingly.

NB: Fast road cams usually raise the torque across the rev range, you may sacrifice a little low end bhp but your high end rpm power will be lifted.

Motorsport cams, raise the high end rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Competition cam makes it harder when driving in heavy traffic.

You should ideally match your power band to your preferences so for a car driven daily stick with a shorter duration CA20 DE DET cam

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the CA20 DE DET

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 CA20 DE DET parts:

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

Stage 2 CA20 DE DET parts:

Ported and polished head, induction kit, Fast road cam, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, 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 CA20 DE DET parts:

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

The CA20 DE DET power trains respond well to upgrades and thanks to their popularity there is a growing number of modifications and performance parts about.

Remaps allows a tuner to to establish the full potential of all the modifications you've done to your CA20 DE DET.

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 usually depend much on the modifications you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the CA20 DE DET

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 CA20 DE DET.

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.

If an engine has a turbocharger modifications are going to make more power and you'll see that turbo engines will have strengthened components.

However every engines will need better parts at higher power limits

It is important to find these restrictions and upgrade to higher quality crank and pistons to cope with the power.

It's not unheard of tuners spending a loads of money on turbo charger upgrades on the CA20 DE DET only to have the engine block throw a rod on it's first outing after it's first rolling road session.

Big upgraded turbochargers commonly experience no power at low rpm, and little turbochargers spool up more quickly but won't have the peak end torque gains.

Thanks to new tech the market of turbo chargers is always moving on and we now see variable vane turbo chargers, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and direct 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 complex to configure. We have this guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the CA20 DE DET

Don't omit to pay attention to the fuelling when you are increasing the bhp and torque - it makes the car more thirsty. It makes sense to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

The rule of thumb is to add another 15% when specifying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and gives 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 CA20 DE DET performance exhaust upgrades

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

On most factory exhausts you'll find your 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 generally help improve air flow from the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too wide or you may end up will reduce the flow rate. Stick to one and a half to two and half inches for best results.

The usual suspects causing problems in your exhaust flow rate are in the filters installed, so adding a freer flowing 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 CA20 DE DET

Like most engines an CA20 DE DET, 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 CA20 DE DET, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned CA20 DE DET 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 CA20 DE DET why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about CA20 DE DET tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their CA20 DE DET.

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