Nissan VQ V-6 Engines

Al

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18,974
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Elizabethtown, Pa
Thread starter
On ward's 10 Best engines of the year. ...16 out of 23 years. Pretty impressive. I am no longer a real fan of Nissan but this engine and Nissan engines pre 2000 were really good That was in the days when Nissan was really noted for good engines. The 4 cyl QG and QR which replaced the SR 20DE brought in the era of weak engines with the exception of the VQ-6. I used to be a Nissan fan. I had the SR20 which was a great engine although it never made Wards list. The engine was known to make over 500 HP with standard Pistons and rods.
 
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22,125
Location
Dallas,Tx USA
In my car ownership experiences,the made in Japan Nissans had the best engines on the roads. I've never owned a domestic made Nissan so I can't comment on them.
 
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581
Location
Omaha, NE USA
I have the VQ40 in my Frontier. I haven't had it long enough to determine reliability but I really like the engine in this application. Nice power down low and mid range. Acceleration is nice. I've towed up to about 5,000 pounds with it and it handled it very well. There's not a lot of Nissan products that interest me much either but I think the VQ engines are generally pretty solid.
 

MolaKule

Staff member
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21,384
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Iowegia - USA
Originally Posted by aquariuscsm
In my car ownership experiences,the made in Japan Nissans had the best engines on the roads. I've never owned a domestic made Nissan so I can't comment on them.
That's been my experience so far with three Nissans; two PathFinders and one Frontier.
 
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3,165
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Outer Banks, NC
I've owned the M35 since new, 11 years and 106K miles, and I still love the VQ35 engine. Trouble free and uses only 1/3 quart between oil changes on synthetic blend 5w-30.
 
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2,322
Location
Kentucky
My '96 Maxima (original VQ engine) has 250k miles and still going strong. Haven't had to replace any electronic components other than a knock sensor, due to a rat's nest deep in the engine "V", and them chewing the KS wire apart. I will say this about the VQ30DE -- it's a lot more complicated than it needs to be. The EGR system has about 4 different components and a half dozen vacuum hoses going here and there. Even the system for controlling idle speed has at least 3-4 different components and related vacuum lines. Add the EVAP system, plus the plumbing connecting these components together is terrible and makes working on the engine a nightmare. I feel a lot of that stuff was unnecessary in 1996, most manufacturers got by with a single computer controlled IAC valve for idle speed, computer controlled EGR valve, mass airflow sensor, O2, an EVAP solenoid or two, and very few vacuum hoses. The engine is shoehorned into the Maxima in a bad way, but alas I can't complain because it's been a dream to own maintenance wise. The only other Nissan I owned was a 2001 Frontier 4x4 with supercharger (VG33ER). That thing was a beast, tough as nails, and other than a super sensitive knock sensor that would retard timing for sometimes no reason at all (which I later bypassed with a resistor), it got me to 150,000 with just routine maintenance and literally nothing else. Great engine, power was not great (fuel economy miserable), but comparable to GM's 4.3L, and Ford's 4.0 SOHC engines of the day. For V6 smoothness, I absolutely adore the VQ30DE. My Honda's J35 engine is a close second, but all other V6's I've driven just don't compare (perhaps the VW VR6 is an exception but not a true V6).
 
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4,353
Location
FL
I love the VQ35 in my Maxima. Super smooth power even on 87. I daily my Fiesta ST, and while the 1.6T is plenty powerful, it's not smooth. But obviously they're two different type of cars. My engine burns/leaks about a quart of oil every 5k miles. I'm going to change out the oil cooler gasket the next time I do an oil change to see if it helps the leaking, but otherwise it doesn't leak enough to warrant spending much on it. One of the pre-cats have been replaced already. Two ignition coils have went. The rear bank of coils and spark plugs are a pain to get to. There's a check engine light for an evap code. I changed out the suspected part but it didn't take care of the code, but it did get rid of the constant smell of fuel around the car. FL doesn't do emissions testing and it doesn't affect drivability so I'm not concerned. The gas mileage isn't great, but it's a big V6 mated to a 4 speed auto so I guess it's about on par with most V6s of its time. My car is in dire need of a paint job, but the mechanicals are still good. Unless it gets into an accident or the engine or trans decides to up and die, I see myself holding onto this car for a while. There are multiple cars on Maxima.org with VQs with 300-400k miles on them, so these engines are durable. Except for the new Maxima, which I'm only starting to warm up to, there isn't anything in Nissan's current line up that attracts me. Probably why I bought a Ford when I wanted a new car 2 years ago lol.
 
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3,649
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Worst Case, Ontario
Originally Posted by pbm
I believe that NIssan went downhill when they got in bed with Renault.
WAYYYYYY overhyped in the early 2000s due to Gran Turismo, import tuning and the Skyline GTR being the ultimate forbidden fruit. They stopped trying to compete with Honda and Toyota on engineering and just became really flashy. They transitioned well from being known for now sort of obsolete V6 sedans to crossovers and SUVs, they have good marketing. That variable compression engine really is something else, though. I would still probably take a Hyundai over them, they have a really bad rep for resisting corrosion.
 
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730
Location
North of you Idaho
I have had 2 that I bought new, VG 30 v6 engines,1 KA24E ,2.4L, beat the living snot out of each. Even I could not break anything on any of those engines. Had a 98 Q45 V8, I did not beat on that car, the wife took it away from me=;( So, I then bought a 1994 C2 Porsche Cab, wife got mad, I sold it and bought a 96, Porsche C2 993, she was more [censored]!
 
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5,570
Location
New Zealand
I like Nissan engines, early ones were copies of BMC and later Mercedes. The GA16 is my favorite, the GA15 was almost as good, but always had an airflow meter fault, good once that was done. Not a fan of the SR18 and SR20, the early ones with the cam lobe oil feed pipes were the worst sludging engines I've ever seen, and would destroy camshafts and followers. Customers would always ask us to adjust the fanbelt because it was squealing...no, sorry it's not the belt, just something more expensive. The TD23, TD27 and TD42 were the best small diesel engines ever, the ZD30 the worst small diesel engine ever.
 
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Under the hood
Originally Posted by pbm
I believe that NIssan went downhill when they got in bed with Renault.
Nissan had some great engineering in the 90s, but that didn't bring it financial success. The company had been losing money for the better part of the decade, was buried in debt, and in danger of bankruptcy. It didn't have much of a choice. A lot or pride was swallowed in allowing an outsider to come in and take over the show, and almost 20 years later, the alliance he leads has grown into one of the top three automakers.
 
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10,279
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Colorado Springs
Originally Posted by pbm
I believe that NIssan went downhill when they got in bed with Renault.
No they did not. Nissan is not playing only in US. In Europe they needed proper diesel technology, and Renault had it. Renault though always had funky design and never felt planted as German cars, but they had some magnificent vehicles. While VQ engines are good, Nissan had other issues that led to partnership with Renault and now with Mercedes.
 
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74
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ct
Had a 2001 i30 (think Infiniti Maxima) with the VQ30 in it. Sold it to a family member, car has about 110K miles on it and the engine is just about as smooth as day 1. Currently have a 2011 G37 with the VQ37HR....not as quiet or quite as smooth as the VQ30, but a naturally aspirated V6 getting 330HP? They did something right. The variable timing and lift setup is complex but seems to be pretty reliable, especially considering every cylinder has its own stepper motor (which leads to some of the ticking noises its known for). It gets a little vibrat-ey above 5500 RPM or so but if Im pulling that many RPMs Im more concerned with not running into things. Had a 2001 Frontier with the VG series engine. Completely underpowered, and you mentioned complex....you should see the maze of coolant hoses/tubes on the underside of the intake plenum. But that engine is bulletproof. Sold that truck to family member too, has 84K miles on it and its done things it probably never had any business being asked to do. Only thing done to the engine was timing belt service.
 
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10,279
Location
Colorado Springs
Originally Posted by pantygnome
Had a 2001 i30 (think Infiniti Maxima) with the VQ30 in it. Sold it to a family member, car has about 110K miles on it and the engine is just about as smooth as day 1. Currently have a 2011 G37 with the VQ37HR....not as quiet or quite as smooth as the VQ30, but a naturally aspirated V6 getting 330HP? They did something right. The variable timing and lift setup is complex but seems to be pretty reliable, especially considering every cylinder has its own stepper motor (which leads to some of the ticking noises its known for). It gets a little vibrat-ey above 5500 RPM or so but if Im pulling that many RPMs Im more concerned with not running into things. Had a 2001 Frontier with the VG series engine. Completely underpowered, and you mentioned complex....you should see the maze of coolant hoses/tubes on the underside of the intake plenum. But that engine is bulletproof. Sold that truck to family member too, has 84K miles on it and its done things it probably never had any business being asked to do. Only thing done to the engine was timing belt service.
I do not understand why it is problem to get 330hp from naturally aspirated V6? BMW was pulling 321hp out of 3.2ltr some 23-24 years ago, though it was inline engine, but that is not the point.
 
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74
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ct
Originally Posted by edyvw
Originally Posted by pantygnome
Had a 2001 i30 (think Infiniti Maxima) with the VQ30 in it. Sold it to a family member, car has about 110K miles on it and the engine is just about as smooth as day 1. Currently have a 2011 G37 with the VQ37HR....not as quiet or quite as smooth as the VQ30, but a naturally aspirated V6 getting 330HP? They did something right. The variable timing and lift setup is complex but seems to be pretty reliable, especially considering every cylinder has its own stepper motor (which leads to some of the ticking noises its known for). It gets a little vibrat-ey above 5500 RPM or so but if Im pulling that many RPMs Im more concerned with not running into things. Had a 2001 Frontier with the VG series engine. Completely underpowered, and you mentioned complex....you should see the maze of coolant hoses/tubes on the underside of the intake plenum. But that engine is bulletproof. Sold that truck to family member too, has 84K miles on it and its done things it probably never had any business being asked to do. Only thing done to the engine was timing belt service.
I do not understand why it is problem to get 330hp from naturally aspirated V6? BMW was pulling 321hp out of 3.2ltr some 23-24 years ago, though it was inline engine, but that is not the point.
The G was Nissan/Infiniti's attempt to go at the 3 series and succeeded at least for a bit. The VQ engines were getting 300 ish HP in 2007. I know its not "ancient" like the BMWs were, but it was good for Nissan at least. Of all the Nissan and Infiniti's Ive owned, the only complaints I ever had were that they felt underpowered. I admittedly have never owned (or even driven) a BMW mostly because I keep my stuff long enough that I could foresee high owning costs getting to me at some point. Im sure they are great vehicles but nowadays I keep reading how the newer/current Bimmers are more tame/luxury than driving experience oriented like they used to be. Kinda bummed that I missed out on the chance.
 
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