Nissan VR38DETT Engine Review Specs, Problems And Reliability

Good morning, today we will tell you about one of the most powerful Nissan VR38DETT gasoline engines ( 24 valves ) with a volume of 3.8 liters with 6 cylinders and learn all about the characteristics, unique features, fuel consumption, maintainability, service intervals of this engine.

Nissan VR38DETT 3.8 V6 Specs Review Oil Horsepower

In addition, find out what resources and widespread breakdowns ( defects and sores ) has Japanese turbo powerplant line ” VR-series “, which is more than 10 years are assembled ” charged ” sports cars and tuning model auto companies Nissan ( Nissan GT-R R35 / Juke-R F15 ).

VR38DETT Engine Reviews

International presentation of the most powerful powertrain in its lineup, the VR38DETT 3.8, created by the Japanese designers of the Nissan-Infiniti concern from scratch, took place in early 2007 at the Detroit Auto Show ( USA ). The engine with the factory marking VR38DETT, which will be discussed in the article, has continuously rolled off the assembly line for almost 13 years in a row.

Fully hand-assembled Nissan 3.8 VR38DETT engine has been successfully launched at the Nissan division in the Japanese city of Tochigi at the Nissan Engine Power plant (for reference: the assembly is carried out by specialists with the highest qualifications and only manually ), from the assembly line of which about 5 thousand unique copies of internal combustion engines came off the assembly line for the 13th period.

The monitored VR38DETT engine, quite naturally, belongs to the most sporty power units of Nissan, among the limitless range of engines manufactured by the auto company. The insane popularity of this power plant is evidenced even by the fact that the engine in question has been produced for more than a decade and has never undergone significant changes in the design by the manufacturer.

Key sales markets for Nissan powertrains 3.8 VR38DETT are North America ( USA and Canada ) as well as Western Europe ( UK, Spain, France and Germany ). Only selected models of the concern, which do not belong to mass production, are equipped with the Nissan internal combustion engine. The power 3.5-liter unit of the VR38DETT series with 6 cylinders is the standard engine of the Nissan GT-R R35 sports coupe.

VR38DETT Engine Specs

So, the engine in question has a rather unusual layout, which is not typical for the Japanese engine industry in the mid-2000s. The power unit is equipped with an aluminum cylinder block with 2 DOHC system heads for 24 valves with hydraulic lifters. The aluminum block is designed for 6 cylinders, which have a V-arrangement.

The gas distribution mechanism is equipped with a double-layer timing chain, and the CVTCS phase regulator is installed only at the intake. In addition, this internal combustion engine is equipped with a twin turbocharger, which was created specifically for the GT-R versions, bringing the total engine power to 485 or 600 horsepower (torque is 588 or 652 Newtons per meter, respectively ), depending on the modification of the power plant.

The key feature of the monitored power unit is a reinforced and enlarged cylinder block ( bore : 95.5 millimeters, piston stroke : 88.4 millimeters ). Thanks to this design, the cylinder block has thick walls ( 2 millimeters thicker than its fellow in the line ), as well as increased dimensions of the journal with crankshaft and connecting rod liners.

Engine pistons 3.8 VR38DETT, with asymmetrical skirts and deeply recessed piston rings. All the above described design features of the internal combustion engine, brought the compression ratio of the powerful power unit to 9.0 points. In addition, all key parts of the connecting rod-piston group are subjected to a special DLC coating, due to which the friction of these engine elements decreased by an average of 25-30%.

The cooling system of this engine is also not simple, thanks to its thoughtfulness, this engine completely eliminated the problems associated with overheating in the 5th and 6th cylinders.

VR38DETT Engine Problems & Reliability

  • Fragile parts of the connecting rod and piston group. As mentioned in the article above, the monitored engine is assembled entirely by hand and, in general, stands out for the highest quality workmanship, however, to maximize its lightening, very light and rather fragile elements are used. So, for example, there are frequent cases of cracks in the areas of the cylinder head spark plug wells when you replace the spark plugs yourself. As auto mechanics recommend, if the car owner does not have sufficient experience in servicing such power units, then it is better to entrust the matter to specialists, since the repair of certain parts of the VR38DETT series power plant can cost a fortune.
  • Increased consumption of engine oil. The monitored power plant is very reliable, but often after 100 thousand kilometers of run, there is a high probability of an oil burn ( more than 800 grams of lubricant per 1000 kilometers ). According to many auto mechanics, the key reason for the increased oil consumption of the VR38DETT engine is the appearance of early coking, directly related to frequent high-speed driving. According to statistics, a high consumption of lubricant in a given internal combustion engine is a frequent and very unpleasant phenomenon for the car owner.
  • Timing chain stretching. Many car owners of cars with a similar internal combustion engine often encounter early stretching of the chain drive of the gas distribution mechanism at low mileage ( up to 90-100 thousand kilometers ).


The VR38DETT engine, although it has a rather complicated and not easy to remember name, will soon become no less recognizable and iconic than the HEMI unit. It’s just that the Japanese bike is adored by tuners, but Nissan does not use it widely in its models. In this respect, it is completely different from HEMI, which was loved by American producers and tuners alike.

In conclusion, we note that the Nissan VR38DETT turbo engine with a volume of 3.8 liters is a perfectly balanced internal combustion engine, and this directly concerns the ratio of performance to economy. The VR38DETT engine perfectly complements the ” VR- series ” sports motor line, the power units of which are very popular all over the planet. The resource of the VR38DETT 3.8 V6 engine, according to the assurance of the manufacturer, the Nissan auto concern, averages 200-220 thousand kilometers.

However, in reality, the service life of a powerful Japanese with a fireball disposition is capable of reaching 250-300 thousand kilometers of run. On our own behalf, we add that the life expectancy of modern gasoline turbo engines directly depends on the competent operation of the car by the owner, the quality of the fuel filled in and the observance of service intervals, that is, the more often consumables with technical fluids change, the longer the ICE will last.

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