Nissan VQ40DE

Nissan VQ40DEThe Nissan VQ40DE is a 4.0 l (3,954 cc, 241.30 natural aspirated V6 60° 4-stroke gasoline engine from Nissan VQ-family. The engine is producted on Decherd Powertrain Plant (Tennessee, USA).

The VQ40DE 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 VQ40DE engine is equipped with a variable intake system, CVTC system on the intake side, NDIS (Nissan Direct Ignition System) with individual coils on each platinum-tipped spark plug and multi-point fuel injection system.

Cylinder bore and piston stroke are 95.5 mm (3.76 in) and 92.0 mm (3.62 in), respectively. Compression ratio rating is 9.7:1.

The Nissan VQ40DE engine produces from 265 PS (195 kW, 261 HP) to 279 PS (205 kW, 275 HP) of maximum power and 381 to 390 Nm (38.8 to 39.8 kg⋅m, 281 to 288 lb⋅ft) of torque depending on the year and vehicle model.

The breakdown of the engine code is as follows:

  • VQ – Engine Family
  • 40 – 4.0 Liter Displacement
  • D – DOHC (Dual Overhead Camshafts)
  • E – Multi Point Fuel Injection

General information

Engine Specifications
Engine codeVQ40DE
LayoutFour stroke, V6
Fuel typeGasoline (petrol)
Displacement4.0 L, 3,954 cc (241.30 cu in)
Fuel systemMulti-point fuel injection (MPFI)
Power adderNone
Power output 265 PS (195 kW, 261 HP) at 5,600 rpm
269 PS (198 kW, 266 HP) at 5,600 rpm
279 PS (205 kW, 275 HP) at 5,600 rpm
Torque output 381 Nm (38.8 kg⋅m, 281 lb⋅ft) at 4,000 rpm
390 Nm (39.8 kg⋅m, 288 lb⋅ft) at 4,000 rpm
Firing order1-2-3-4-5-6
Dimensions (L x W x H):

Cylinder block

The VQ40DE has an aluminum cylinder block with a four-bearings crankshaft supported system, forged steel connecting rods, a micro-finished one-piece forged crankshaft and moly coated pistons. The crankshaft journal diameter is 70 mm (2.75 in), the crankpin diameter is 54 mm (2.12 in).

The cylinder bore is 95.5 mm (3.760 in), piston stroke is 92.0 mm (3.622 in) and compression ratio rating is 9.7:1. The Nissan VQ40DE motor has two compression and one oil control rings. The connecting rod’s length is 165.85 mm (6.53 in)

Cylinder block
Cylinder block alloyAluminium
Compression ratio:9.7:1
Cylinder bore:95.5 mm (3.760 in)
Piston stroke:92.0 mm (3.622 in)
Number of piston rings (compression / oil):2 / 1
Number of main bearings:4
Cylinder inner diameter (standard):95.500-95.510 mm (3.7598-3.7602 in)
Piston skirt diameter (standard):95.480-95.490 mm (3.7590-3.7594 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:57.000 mm (2.2441 in)
Connecting rod center distance:165.82-165.92 mm (6.5283-6.5323 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:Top0.23-0.33 mm (0.0091-0.0130 in)
Second0.33-0.48 mm (0.0130-0.0189 in)
Oil0.20-0.50 mm (0.0079-0.0197 in)
Crankshaft main journal diameter:69.975 mm (2.7549 in)
Crankpin diameter:53.974 mm (2.1250 in)
Crankshaft center distance:45.96-46.04 mm (1.8094-1.8126 in)

Cylinder head

The cylinder head is made of strong, light aluminum alloy which gives it good cooling efficiency. The engine is equipped with hydraulically actuated CVTC (Continuous Variable Valve Timing Control) for intake cams. 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 37.0-37.3 mm (1.45-1.46 in) and the exhaust valve diameter is 31.2-31.5 mm (1.22-1.24 in), duration is 240°/244°, respectively. The VQ40DE motor does not have hydraulic lifters, so special valve lifters are used to adjust the valve clearance.

Cylinder head
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
(Intake valve timing control-OFF):
Exhaust valve timing:244°
Valve head diameter:INTAKE37.0-37.3 mm
EXHAUST31.2-31.5 mm (1.228-1.240 in)
Valve length:INTAKE96.46 mm (3.7976 in)
EXHAUST93.99 mm (3.7004 in)
Valve stem diameter:INTAKE5.965-5.980 mm (0.2348-0.2354 in)
EXHAUST5.955-5.970 mm (0.2344-0.2350 in)
Valve spring free length:INTAKE47.07 mm (1.8531 in)
EXHAUST47.07 mm (1.8531 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:INTAKE45.465-45.65 mm (1.7900-1.7974 in)
EXHAUST45.075-45.265 mm (1.7746-1.7821 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: 39.2 kg·m; 4.0 kg·m; 29 ft·lb
  • Step 4: Turn all bolts 90°
  • Step 5: Turn all bolts another 90°

Problems and malfunctions

The Nissan VQ40DE is reliable and durable, but sometimes the following problem can happen:

  • High oil consumption. The VQ40DE has a catalytic converter and they are very sensitive to the fuel quality. They produce ceramic dust, which damaging the cylinders sleeve and piston rings. As a result, the engine has low compression, high fuel and oil consumption. Such an engine requires repair or replacement. To prevent this problem, you need to change the upper catalytic converters for high flow catalytic converter. It will decrease ecological standard, but this problem will not happen.

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 VQ40DE 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/cm2 (185 psi) / 300 rpm
Minimun10.0 kg/cm2 (142 psi) / 300 rpm
Compression differential limit between cylinders1.0 kg/cm2 (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 API
Engine oil capacity (Refill capacity) With filter change 5.1 l (5-3/8 US. qt., 4-1/2 Imp. qt.)
Without filter change 4.8 l (5-1/8 US. qt., 4-1/4 Imp. qt.)
Oil change interval, km (miles)6,000 (3,750)
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 plugStandard: DILFR5A-11 (NGK)
Spark plug gap1.1 mm (0.043 in)
Spark plug tightening torque24.5 Nm (2.5 kg⋅m, 18 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 27 sizes from 7.88 mm (0.3102 in) to 8.40 mm (0.3307 in), in steps of 0.02 mm (0.0008 in).

Example (exhaust valve):
R = 7.90 mm
M = 0.52 mm
N = 7.90 + (0.52 – 0.34) = 8.08 mm, so we need a valve lifter with identification mark 808U.

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 Frontier2005–
Nissan Xterra2005–2015
Nissan Pathfinder2005–2012
Suzuki Equator2009–2013
Nissan NV15002012–
Nissan NV2500 HD2012–
Nissan NV Passenger2012–
Nissan Patrol2017–
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.

ATTENTION! Dear visitors, this site is not a trading platform, an official dealer or a spare parts supplier, so we do not have any price lists or spare parts catalogs. We are an information portal and provide the technical specifications of gasoline and diesel engines.

We try to use verified sources and official documentation, however, differences between sources or errors in entering information may occur. We do not provide advice on technical issues related to the engines operation or repair. We do not recommend using provided information for engines repairing engines or spare parts ordering, use only official service manuals and spare-parts catalogs.


        • You mean a compression height, I don`t have this information. At one supplier I found pistons for vq40de with a compression height of 31.6 mm, but I’m not sure if this is correct.


    my engine broken. It broke the block between the two sleeves.

    If you have available, please send quote to my e-mail address.

    David Mokoena
    Cellphone no: 076 688 7561

  2. Would this engine be compatible between all the vehicles listed above? For example, if i take an engine out of a 2012 Suzuki Equator would it function in a 2005 Frontier? Im sure the wiring harness may be different, but as far as the engine itself, would it be compatible?

  3. A 3.5 engine and transmission from a 2003 pathfinder comparable with a 4.0 engine and transmission from a 2006 pathfinder

  4. Can I replace the engine and transmission in my 2006 pathfinder that has a 4.0 in it now with an engine and transmission from a 2003 pathfinder with is a 3.5 engine

    • Unfortunately, I do not have such information. But in my opinion, if the transfer were inside one lineup it would be relatively simple, but 2003 is the R50 body and 2006 is the R51, so you need to look at a large number of modifications that could be entered into the car when the generation was changed.

  5. What would acceptable compression numbers and hi/low differences be for a 90K motor in a Frontier? How could you identify the catalytic converter issue if it existed pre-purchase?

    • Just a few sensors, supposedly. Found this from one guy who swapped an early xterra engine into a later model xterra:

      We used the 06 Harness , Throttle Body and Oil Pressure Sender …. everything else was compatible.

      **I should note before the swap I was running DT headers with no cats which we re used on the new motor so there was no messin around with exhaust manifolds and cats.

  6. Hi….I just purchased A 2018 Nissan Frontier with the VQ40DE engine… has 15,000 miles on it…’s only my 4th Japanese vehicle, I’ve owned 3 other Subaru WRX’s…..completely different animal.
    I’m just wondering if replacing the factory box cold air-intake with an applicable after market system (just filter & tubes) and installing a more efficient muffler (single pipe and staying w/the 2″to 2.5″ stock), will it make any real difference in fuel efficiency…..?
    I’ve done this in the past with many of my traditionally aspirated engines, (obviously, with the Subies) and in most cases, there was a positive difference (if I kept my foot out of it because it sounded so nice)……lol
    I’ve read all kinds of different stories related to this engine, hard to believe most……Not really looking for more performance, just better tone and gas mileage……..thought I’d contact an engine expert get to the real truth…….Thanks for any advice you can provide.

  7. Hi guys
    I have a 2006 VQ40 V6 Nissan Navara, recently the engine has had a full rebuild (ground up) and I will run with that for a while, it has no cats at all and no engine light for that problem.
    When I change it out I want more power than the 261 it has (just a slug when trying to overtake) it gets up and boggies ok when I run it up BUT not grunt down low.

    so: what to do??? change the motor or add something to this motor to make it go, my info is Turbo is out BUT maybe supercharge is in??? not sure.

    anyone done anything to one of these motors to make it go and still have the reliability? I know its a low rev motor that is not designed to smash the HP to the ground, but I would just like a little more power when pulling a trailer (no caravan).

    Any ideas??

    Bill Felton
    Melbourne Victoria

  8. I found the information on this page to be very helpful and interesting. I have a 2006 Nissan Frontier SE 4×4 that I bought new–it had 7 miles on it. I now have 293,430 miles on it. I have done routine maintenance on it since I purchased it. Oil and oil filter, air filter, fluids in the transfer case, differentials, and transmission (6 sp. manual), and other parts as needed. It is the most dependable vehicle that I have ever owned! I have replaced the A/C compressor once, the clutch once, and catalytic converters once, and the coil packs once. It still runs as good as it did when I bought it. I noticed that the projected life of this motor is 200,000 miles. One thing that I haven’t done is have the timing chains replaced and the valves adjusted. I need to get this done ASAP.

    I drive this truck daily and plan on keeping it for many more miles!

  9. I was wondering if you knew the difference with the Vin numbers. I have a Nissan to that’s 4th digit is a B but all of these engines that I find come out of vehicles which have A as the forth digit. Would this matter when swapping the motor?

  10. what is the difference between 4.0L, VIN D (4th digit, VQ40DE) Engine and 4.0L, VIN A (4th digit, VQ40DE).
    my question about the letter A and D after VIN.


  12. Are they still making the 4.0L Nissan Frontier motor? If so, can you buy this motor from the Tennessee plant? Thanks.

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