Nissan VQ20DE

Nissan VQ20DEThe Nissan VQ20DE is a 2.0 l (1,995 cc, 121.73 natural aspirated V6 60° 4-stroke gasoline engine from Nissan VQ-family.

The VQ20DE features a lightweight aluminum block with a fully balanced four-bearings crankshaft and two aluminum heads with two camshafts (DOHC) and four valves per cylinder. The Nissan VQ20DE engine is equipped with NISSAN EGI (ECCS) electrically controlled gasoline injection device and NDIS (Nissan Direct Ignition System) with individual coils on each spark plug.

Cylinder bore and piston stroke are 76.0 mm (2.992 in) and 73.3 mm (2.886 in), respectively. Compression ratio rating is 9.5:1 or 10:1.

There were three generations of VQ20DE:

  • First generation (1994-1998): The Nissan VQ20DE engine produced 155 PS (114 kW, 153 HP) at 6,400 rpm and 186 Nm (18.9 kg⋅m, 137 lb⋅ft) at 4,400 rpm.
  • Second generation (1998-2001): The engine produced 160 PS (117 kW, 157 HP) at 6,400 rpm and 197 Nm (20.0 kg⋅m, 145 lb⋅ft) at 4,000 rpm.
  • Third generation (after 2001): It produced 150 PS (110 kW, 147 HP) at 6,400 rpm and 186 Nm (18.9 kg⋅m, 137 lb⋅ft) at 4,400 rpm.

After 1999 the Nissan VQ20DE engine received prefix “NEO”.

The breakdown of the engine code is as follows:

  • VQ – Engine Family
  • 20 – 2.0 Liter Displacement
  • D – DOHC (Dual Overhead Camshafts)
  • E – Multi Point Fuel Injection

General information

Engine Specifications
Engine codeVQ20DE
LayoutFour stroke, V6
Fuel typeGasoline (petrol)
Displacement2.0 L, 1,995 cm3 (121.73 cu in)
Fuel systemMulti Point Fuel Injection
Power adderNone
Power output 140 PS (103 kW, 138 HP) at 6,400 rpm
150 PS (110 kW, 147 HP) at 6,400 rpm
155 PS (114 kW, 153 HP) at 6,400 rpm
160 PS (117 kW, 157 HP) at 6,400 rpm
Torque output 186 Nm (18.9 kg⋅m, 137 lb⋅ft) at 4,400 rpm
197 Nm (20.0 kg⋅m, 145 lb⋅ft) at 4,000 rpm
Firing order1-2-3-4-5-6
Dimensions (L x W x H):

Cylinder block

The VQ20DE has an aluminum cylinder block with a four-bearings crankshaft supported system, forged steel connecting rods, a micro-finished one-piece forged crankshaft. The crankshaft journal diameter is 60 mm (2.36 in), the crankpin diameter is 45 mm (1.78 in).

The cylinder bore is 76.0 mm (2.992 in), piston stroke is 73.3 mm (2.886 in) and compression ratio rating is 9.5:1 or 10:1. The Nissan VQ20DE motor has two compression and one oil control rings. The connecting rod’s length are 147.7 mm (5.81 in)

Cylinder block
Cylinder block alloyAluminium
Compression ratio:9.5:1 or 10.0:1
Cylinder bore:76.0 mm (2.992 in)
Piston stroke:73.3 mm (2.886 in)
Number of piston rings (compression / oil):2 / 1
Number of main bearings:4
Cylinder inner diameter (standard):76.000-76.010 mm (2.9921-2.9925 in)
Piston skirt diameter (standard):75.980-75.990 mm (2.9913-2.9917 in)
Piston pin outer diameter:21.989-21.995 mm (0.8657-0.8659 in)
Connecting rod bushing inner diameter:22.000-22.006 mm (0.8661-0.8664 in)
Connecting rod big end diameter:48.000 mm (1.8898 in)
Connecting rod center distance:147.60-147.70 mm (5.8110-5.8149 in)
Piston ring side clearance:Top0.045-0.080 mm (0.0018-0.0031 in)
Second0.030-0.070 mm (0.0012-0.0028 in)
Oil0.065-0.135 mm (0.0026-0.0053 in)
Piston ring end gap:Top0.18-0.37 mm (0.0071-0.0146 in)
Second0.30-0.54 mm (0.0118-0.0213 in)
Oil0.20-0.69 mm (0.0079-0.0272 in)
Crankshaft main journal diameter:59.975 mm (2.3612 in)
Crankpin diameter:44.974 mm (1.7706 in)
Crankshaft center distance:36.61-36.69 mm (1.4413-1.4445 in)

Main bearing cap bolts tightening procedure and torque specs:

  • Step 1: 32-38 Nm; 3.3-3.9 kg·m; 24-28 ft·lb
  • Step 2: Turn all bolts 90-95°

After securing bearing cap bolts, make sure crankshaft turns smoothly by hand.

Crankshaft pulley bolt

  • Step 1: 39-49 Nm; 4.0-5.0 kg·m; 29-36 ft·lb
  • Step 2: Put a paint mark on the crankshaft pulley
  • Step 3: Again tighten by turning 60-65°, about the angle from one hexagon bolt head corner to another.

Flywheel (M/T) or Drive plate (A/T) fixing bolts

  • 83-93 Nm; 8.5-9.5 kg·m; 61-69 ft·lb

Cylinder head

The cylinder head is made of strong, light aluminum alloy which gives it good cooling efficiency. The camshafts are driven by single primary and two secondary chains. The primary timing chain transmits the rotational movement from the crankshaft to the intake camshafts, the secondary chains connects intake and exhaust sprocket on each head respectively.

The intake valve diameter is 29.0 mm (1.14 in) and the exhaust valve diameter is 24.0 mm (0.94 in). The VQ20DE motor does not have hydraulic lifters, so special valve lifters are used to adjust the valve clearance.

Cylinder head (VQ20 Neo specs)
Block head alloyAluminium
Valve Arrangement:DOHC, chain drive
Cylinder head height:126.3-126.5 mm (4.97-4.98 in)
Valves:24 (4 valves per cylinder)
Intake valve timing:224°
Exhaust valve timing:232°
Valve head diameter:INTAKE29.0-29.3 mm (1.142-1.154 in)
EXHAUST23.9-24.2 mm (0.941-0.953 in)
Valve length:INTAKE99.44-99.94 mm (3.9150-3.9346 in)
EXHAUST96.97-97.47 mm (3.8177-3.8374 in)
Valve stem diameter:INTAKE5.965-5.980 mm (0.2348-0.2354 in)
EXHAUST5.945-5.960 mm (0.2341-0.2346 in)
Valve spring free length:INTAKE53.14 mm (2.0921 in)
EXHAUST53.14 mm (2.0921 in)
Exhaust camshaft journal diameter:№125.935-25.955 mm (1.0211-1.0218 in)
№2, 3, 4, 523.445-23.465 mm (0.9230-0.9238 in)
Camshaft cam height:INTAKE43.355-43.545 mm (1.7069-1.7144 in)
EXHAUST43.405-43.595 mm (1.7089-1.7163 in)

Head tightening procedure and torque specs:

  • Step 1: 98 Nm; 10.0 kg·m; 72 ft·lb
  • Step 2: Loosen all bolts completely
  • Step 3: 34-44 kg·m; 3.5-4.5 kg·m; 25-33 ft·lb
  • Step 4: Turn all bolts 90-95°
  • Step 5: Turn all bolts another 90-95°

Camshaft sprocket bolts

  • 119-128 Nm; 12.1-13.1 kg·m; 88-95 ft·lb

Problems and malfunctions

The Nissan VQ20DE is reliable and durable. The engine has three timing chains, their service life is about 150,000 miles of mileage (200,000-250,000 km). The valve clearance needs to be adjusted every 60,000 miles of mileage (90,000 km). The Nissan VQ20DE life expectancy is 200,000 miles of mileage (300,000 km).

Maintenance data

Valve clearance (HOT)
Intake valve0.304-0.416 mm (0.012-0.016 in)
Exhaust valve0.308-0.432 mm (0.012-0.017 in)
Compression pressure
Standard13.0 kg/сm2 (185 psi) / 300 rpm
Minimun10.0 kg/сm2 (142 psi) / 300 rpm
Compression differential limit between cylinders1.0 kg/сm2 (15 psi) / 300 rpm
Oil system
Oil consumption , L/1000 km (qt. per miles)up to 0.5 (1 qt. per 1200 miles)
Recommended engine oil 5W-30, 10W-30, 10W-40
Oil type APISG,SH or SJ
Engine oil capacity (Refill capacity) With filter change 4.0 L
Without filter change 3.7 L
Oil change interval, km (miles)6,000 (3,000)
Oil Pressure, kPa (kg/cm 2, psi) Idle speed: More than 98 (1.0, 14)
2,000 rpm: More than 294 (3.0, 43)
Ignition system
Spark plug Standard: PLFR5A-11 (NGK)
Hot type: PLFR4A-11 (NGK)
Cold type: PLFR6A-11 (NGK)
Spark plug gap1.1 mm (0.043 in)
Spark plug tightening torque20-29 Nm (2.0-3.0 kg⋅m, 14-22 ft⋅lb)

Valve clearance adjustment data

Calculate the thickness of new adjusting valve lifter so valve clearance comes within specified values.

R = Thickness of removed valve lifter
N = Thickness of new valve lifter
M = Measured valve clearance

N = R + [M – 0.30 mm (0.012 in)]
N = R + [M – 0.34 mm (0.013 in)]

Valve lifters are available in 55 sizes from 2.10 mm (0.0827 in) to 2.72 mm (0.1071 in).

Example (exhaust valve):
R = 2.20 mm
M = 0.52 mm
N = 2.20 + (0.52 – 0.34) = 2.38 mm, so we need a valve lifter with identification mark 238.

Intake0.26-0.34 mm (0.010-0.013 in)0.304-0.416 mm (0.012-0.016 in)
Exhaust0.29-0.37 mm (0.011-0.015 in)0.308-0.432 mm (0.012-0.017 in)

Vehicle applications

ModelYears Produced
Nissan Cefiro (A32, A33)1994–2003
Nissan Maxima QX (A32)1995–1999
Renault Samsung SM51998-2005
Author: Sergei Wers
About: Co-founder and CEO of a multi-brand auto repair shop (engine repair, chassis repair, body repair and painting) for over 15 years. I have been developing internet sites with technical specifications for more than seven years.

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  1. Good evening.

    I would like to find whether I can find a year box for Nissan cefiro
    Engine number VQ20-0775304
    Chassis number A32-102637
    Control number 250905

  2. Hello,
    How much is the ECU for a Nissan Cefiro?
    Engine number VQ 20175864A
    VIN/ Chasis Number JN1CAUA32Z0010459
    Vehicle Control Number 289915

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