Nissan SR20DET Engine (SR20DE)

  1. Specifications
  2. Overview, problems
  3. Performance tuning

Nissan SR20 engine specs

Manufacturer Yokohama plant
Also called Nissan SR20
Production 1989-2007
Cylinder block alloy Aluminum
Configuration Straight-4
Valvetrain DOHC
4 valves per cylinder
Piston stroke, mm (inch) 86 (3.39)
Cylinder bore, mm (inch) 86 (3.39)
Compression ratio 8.3 (SR20DET)
8.5 (SR20DET)
9.0 (SR20VET)
9.5 (SR20DE/SR20Di)
11.0 (SR20VE)
Displacement 1998 cc (121.9 cu in)
Power output 85 kW (115 HP) at 6,000 rpm
92 kW (125 HP) at 5,600 rpm
103 kW (140 HP) at 6,400 rpm
110 kW (150 HP) at 6,400 rpm
118 kW (160 HP) at 6,400 rpm
121 kW (165 HP) at 6,400 rpm
140 kW (190 HP) at 7,000 rpm
151 kW (205 HP) at 6,000 rpm
151 kW (205 HP) at 7,200 rpm
162 kW (220 HP) at 6,000 rpm
165 kW (225 HP) at 6,000 rpm
169 kW (230 HP) at 6,400 rpm
184 kW (250 HP) at 6,400 rpm
206 kW (280 HP) at 6,400 rpm
Torque output 166 Nm (122 lb·ft) at 4,800 rpm
170 Nm (125 lb·ft) at 4,800 rpm
179 Nm (132 lb·ft) at 4,800 rpm
178 Nm (131 lb·ft) at 4,800 rpm
188 Nm (139 lb·ft) at 4,800 rpm
192 Nm (142 lb·ft) at 4,800 rpm
196 Nm (145 lb·ft) at 6,000 rpm
275 Nm (203 lb·ft) at 4,000 rpm
206 Nm (152 lb·ft) at 5,200 rpm
275 Nm (203 lb·ft) at 4,800 rpm
275 Nm (203lb·ft) at 4,800 rpm
280 Nm (207 lb·ft) at 4,800 rpm
300 Nm (221 lb·ft) at 4,800 rpm
315 Nm (232 lb·ft) at 3,200 rpm
Redline 7,100 (SR20DE Low port)
7,500 (SR20DE High port)
7,500 (SR20DET Red top)
7,200 (SR20DET Black top)
7,200 (SR20VE)
HP per liter 57.6
Fuel type Gasoline
Weight, kg (lbs) 160 (350) – SR20DE
180 (400) – SR20DET
Fuel consumption, L/100 km (mpg)

for Infiniti G20
11.5 (20)
6.8 (35)

8.7 (27)
Turbocharger  Naturally aspirated
Garrett T25G
Garrett T28
Garrett T28BB
Oil consumption , L/1000 km
(qt. per miles)
up to 0.5
(1 qt. per 1200 miles)
Recommended engine oil 5W-20
Engine oil capacity, L (qt.) 3.4 (3.6)
Oil change interval, km (miles) 5,000-10,000
Normal engine operating temperature, °C (F) 90 (195)
Engine lifespan, km (miles)
-Official information

400,000+ (250,000)
Tuning, HP
-Max HP
-No life span loss


The engine is installed in Nissan 180SX/200SX/Silvia
Nissan Almera
Nissan NX2000/NX-R/100NX
Nissan Sentra/Tsuru
Nissan Primera
Nissan Pulsar/Sabre
Nissan X-Trail GT
Infiniti G20
Nissan Avenir
Nissan Bluebird
Nissan Prairie/Liberty
Nissan Presea
Nissan Rasheen
Nissan R’nessa
Nissan Serena
Nissan Wingroad/Tsubame

Nissan SR20DET engine reliability, problems and repair

In 1989 one of the most famous and legendary Nissan engines was produced. Nissan Bluebird was the first car, equipped with SR20. This engine replaced cast-iron CA20. SR20DE used aluminium cylinder block with dry cast iron sleeves. It is a square engine, so its piston stroke and cylinder diameter are of the same size -86 mm. SR20DE connecting rods are 136.3 mm long.
Cylinder head has two camshafts and 4 valves per each cylinder. This engine uses multi point fuel injection system. Such models reached 140 HP at 6,400 RPM.
Along with this, SR20Di version was produced, which used single point fuel injection system. In contrast to SR20DE, it had modified head with revised ports. SR20Di engine reached 115 HP at 6,000 RPM.
The most popular engine among Nissan SR is SR20DE, therefore we will tell about it more detailed.
The earliest version had red valve cover, and therefore it was named SR20DE Red top High port. Camshafts on this model are 248/240 deg, lift 10.0/9.2 mm, and the size of the exhaust system is 1.75”. It increased the engine rev limiter to 7,500 RPM.
SR20DE Black top Low port was being produced only during 1994. It had the improved ecological index, revised inlet ports, camshafts 240/240 deg, lift 9.2/9.2 mm, and also 1.5” exhaust system.
In 1995 this engine was modified a little: the intake camshaft was changed for the new (duration 232, lift 8.66 mm). It reduced redline to 7,100.
In 2000 SR20DE roller rocker appeared. These engines were equipped with roller rockers and camshafts 232/240 deg, lift 10.0/9.2 mm. And also they used new valves (3mm shorter), modified valve springs, light pistons, lighter crankshaft and short-length intake manifold. These modifications were produced till 2002, and after that SR20DE was discontinued.

Besides naturally aspirated version, turbocharged SR20DET was also produced in 1989. Below we will tell about the difference between SR20DE and SR20DET.
The first generation is usually called SR20DET Red top. It had red valve cover and had been produced since 1989 to 1994. This engine used Garrett T25G turbocharger, and the maximal boost pressure was 7 psi (0.5 bar). It had new pistons (compression ratio 8.5), reinforced connecting rods, fuel injectors 370 cc/min, camshafts 240/240 deg, lift 9.2/9.2 mm and 60mm throttle body. SR20DET Red top is 205 HP at 6,000 RPM, torque 274 m at 4,000 RPM.
This engine was used for Nissan Bluebird and Nissan 180SX (Silvia S13).
SR20DET Red top is a more powerful version, produced since 1990 to 1994. Compression ratio is abated to 8.3. Also it uses Garrett T28 (TB2804) turbocharger, boost pressure has increased to 10.5 psi (0.72 bar). The engine is equipped with camshafts 248/248 deg, lift 10.0/10.0 mm, fuel injectors 440 cc/min, reinforced head bolts, oil jets, reinforced connecting rods and crankshaft, individual throttle bodies (ITB).
All these upgrades increased the power to 230 HP at 6,400 RPM, and torque to 280 NM at 4,800 RPM.
Such engine was installed on Nissan Pulsar GTi-R only, developed for participation in WRC championship.

The second generation of this engine had the black valve cover and so it was called SR20DET Black top. It appeared in 1994 and its various versions were produced till 2002. SR20DET Black top is used on Nissan 180SX S13 and Nissan Bluebird, and it differs from Red top with black valve cover, oxygen sensor, ECU software, modified head ports, and also pistons are made of another material.
For Nissan Silvia S14 the version SR20DET Black top was produced. It was equipped with variable valve timing system VTC on the intake camshaft, modified intake manifold and 50mm throttle body. This engine uses Garrett T28 turbocharger with boost pressure 7 psi (0.5 bar) and compression ratio is 8.5. Such Black top is 220 HP at 6,000 RPM, and torque 275NM at 4,800 RPM.
The most upgraded version SR20DET Black top was installed on Nissan Silvia S15. The engine was equipped with Garrett T28BB turbocharger, known as Garrett GT28R or GT2560R. Besides, the engine was also equipped with big intercooler. Boost pressure was 11.5 psi (0.8 bar). SR20DET Black top S15 had fuel injectors with capacity 480 cc/min. This version is 250 HP at 6,400 RPM, torque 300 NM at 4,800 RPM.
Nissan Avenir has a version of this engine with gray valve cover – SR20DET Silver top. It exists in two variants:
1. Power 205 HP with Garrett T25G turbocharger.
2. Power 230 HP with Garrett T25BB turbocharger and boost pressure increased to 9 psi (0.62 bar).
SR20DET was discontinued in 2002.

Besides the above-mentioned engines, sport naturally aspirated JDM SR20VE engines were produced also.
The first modification appeared in 1997 and developed power 190 HP at 7,000 RPM, and torque 196 NM at 6,000 RPM.
In contrast to SR20DE, SR20VE has variable valve timing and lift system NEO VVL on intake and exhaust camshafts, and compression ratio is increased to 11. SR20VE camshafts: intake duration 220-264 deg, lift 8.4-10.7 mm, exhaust duration 244-268 deg, lift 6.6-10.34 mm. The engine was installed on Nissan Bluebird, Primera and Wingroad.
The second generation SR20VE 20V was made for JDM Nissan Primera and it was still more powerful. The engine used modified long length intake manifold, enlarged throttle body (70mm), new inlet valves and valve springs, modified exhaust manifold, and also pistons were somewhat updated. SR20VE 20V camshafts: intake duration 228-278 deg, lift 10.11-12 mm, exhaust duration 244-280 deg, lift 8.3-11.15 mm. SR20VE 20V power reached 205 HP at 7,200 RPM, torque 206 NM at 5,200 RPM. SR20VE was discontinued in 2003.
It is quite curious, that the most powerful Nissan SR version was meant not for Silvia or Primera, but for SUV Nissan X-Trail GT. The engine was SR20VE 20V turbo, and as you might guess, it was SR20VET. It had been produced since 2001 to 2007.
SR20VET camshafts: intake duration 212-248 deg, lift 8.0-11.0 mm, exhaust duration 244 deg, lift 11.3 mm. SR20VET was equipped with Garrett T28 turbocharger, and compression ratio was decreased to 9. Fuel injectors were 444 cc/min. Maximal boost pressure reached 8.7 psi (0.6 bar), enough to gain 280 HP at 6,400 RPM and torque 315 NM at 3,200 RPM.
Since SR20DE and SR20DET are equipped with hydraulic lifters, you do not have to regulate the valves. But if you have SR20VE, then it is necessary to regulate them when ticking noise appears. All SR20 versions use timing chain and it should be changed every 150,000 miles of mileage (200,000-250,000 km). Though quite often its service life exceeds 150,000 miles (250,000 km). SR20DE firing order is 1-3-4-2.
SR series also included 1,8L SR18DE/Di and high rev naturally aspirated SR16VE. Two years before SR20DE was discontinued, Nissan presented an engine of new generation, QR20DE, which replaced SR20.

Nissan SR20DE/SR20DET engine problems and malfunctions

SR engines are very reliable and durable. They do not have any great problems or faults. Sometimes a problem of rough idle appears. It mainly happens because of idle air control valve, or your fuel might be of low-quality. Also MAF sensor fails sometimes. SR20DE engine has quite long lifetime, on condition of using high-quality motor oil and serving the engine regularly. This lets increasing lifespan to 250,000 miles of mileage (400,000 km) or even more. 

Nissan SR20DET engine tuning

N/A build

So, in case if you have decided to increase the power of your naturally aspirated SR20DE, first of all you should choose the head to work with: low port or high port. If you would not like doing port and polish, then it is better to choose SR20DE low port head, it flows rather well. If you plan to do porting, then SR20DE high port head will be preferable, it has higher potential.
What will help to increase SR20DE power? As the cheapest and budget choice, for stock SR20DE you should buy JWT S3 camshafts, cold air intake, 4-1 header, performance exhaust system and JWT ECU. It will give you some additional horsepower, though not much. To gain much power indeed, compression ratio should be increased. For this light pistons SR20VE will suit perfectly. They will increase compression ratio to 11.7. Exhaust manifold SR20VE 20V instead of the stock will be good choice also. Buy JWT S3 camshafts with valve springs, SR20VE fuel injectors, lightweight flywheel, H-Beam rods, 2.5” performance exhaust system and JWT ECU. This way you will be able to gain about 200 horsepower for such engine. These are the best mods for SR20DE.
If your engine is SR20VE and you wish making it somewhat more powerful, then buy SR16VE N1 head along with intake and exhaust systems, ECU and other things. It will increase compression ratio to 12.5. Also buy lightweight flywheel, 4-1 header and 3 inch performance exhaust system. These mods will give you more than 210 HP. Also you can buy more aggressive camshafts, individual throttle bodies (ITB), high compression pistons, water/methanol injection system and to raise the engine RPM to the skies. It will be exceptionally N/A race engine.

SR20DE Turbo

We advise you not wasting your time for turning your common naturally aspirated engine into turbo SR20DE+T. It is rather expensive, for you would have to install oil jets, change pistons, buy fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator and fuel injectors. Besides, turbocharger, turbo manifold, intercooler, oil feed line, oil return line, JWT ECU and other things are required. And as the result, you would get almost the same SR20DET.
Do not reinvent a wheel, better buy SR20DET engine, make swap and gain a lot of power.

SR20DET Boost up

To obtain 300 horsepower on SR20DET, it is necessary to purchase front intercooler, boost controller, downpipe, 3” performance exhaust system, fuel injectors 550 cc/min, fuel pressure regulator, fuel pump Walbro 280 lph, BOV, RB25 MAF (or 300ZX MAF) and Apexi ECU. These upgrades on SR20DET Red top and Black top engines (without VTC system), let raising boost pressure to 15 psi (1 bar) and gaining about 300 HP. SR20DET Black top engines with VTC system let obtaining up to 320 horsepower.
If you desire still more, then you need Garrett GT2871R turbocharger, JWT S3 camshafts, ARP studs, MSL head gasket, fuel injectors (about 850 cc/min). Thanks to these mods you will gain up to 400 horsepower on stock internals. Better not exceeding 350 horsepower to feel calmer. If it is not the limit for you and you wish over 400 HP, then it is better not running a risk and purchase new forged pistons and H-beam rods. After this it is possible to increase the boost to the highest and gain 430-450 horsepower.
Still not enough? Then Garrett GTX3076R turbocharger is needed, camshafts 272/272, fuel injectors 1000 cc/min, head porting and large valves. As the result, your SR20DET will display about 500 horsepower.
To diminish lag of the turbocharger, you may buy SR20DET stroker kit (2.1L, 2.2L, 2.3L), install really large turbocharger and increase the boost before your engine has not burst to pieces.
The most efficient for SR20DET is using common boost up to 300 HP or configuration with Garrett GT2871R turbocharger. Such engines are somewhat reliable.