Nissan VR38DETT

Nissan VR38DETTThe Nissan VR38DETT is a 3.8 l (3,799 cc, 231.8 cu·in) turbocharged V6 60° 4-stroke gasoline engine from Nissan VR-family. The engine has been manufactured since 2007.

The Nissan VR38DETT engine features a lightweight aluminum block with plasma-sprayed cylinder liner bores and a four-bearings crankshaft and two aluminum heads with two camshafts (DOHC) and four valves per cylinder. The Nissan VR38DETT engine is equipped with a continuously variable valve timing control system (CVTCS) on intake valves, multi-port fuel injection, electronic drive-by-wire throttle, fully symmetrical dual intake and low back-pressure exhaust system.

The cylinder bore is 95.5 mm (3.76 in) and the piston stroke 88.4 mm (3.48 in). The compression ratio rating is 9.0:1.

The Nissan VR38DETT engine produces from 487 PS (358 kW; 480 HP) to 608 PS (447 kW; 600 HP) of maximum power and from 588 N·m (60 kg·m, 433.4 ft·lb) to 652 N·m (66.5 kg·m, 480.5 ft·lb) of torque depending on the year and vehicle model.

The breakdown of the engine code is as follows:

  • VR – Engine Family
  • 38 – 3.8 Liter Displacement
  • D – DOHC (Dual Overhead Camshafts)
  • E – Multi Point Fuel Injection
  • TT – Twin-Turbocharged

General information

Engine Specifications
Engine codeVR38DETT
LayoutFour stroke, V6
Fuel typeGasoline (petrol)
Displacement3.8 L, 3,799 cm3 (231.8 cu in)
Fuel systemMulti-point fuel injection
Power adderTwin-Turbocharger
Power output 487 PS (358 kW; 480 HP) to 608 PS (447 kW; 600 HP)
Torque output 588 N·m (60 kg·m, 433.4 ft·lb) to 652 N·m (66.5 kg·m, 480.5 ft·lb)
Firing order1-2-3-4-5-6
Dimensions (L x W x H):

Cylinder block

The Nissan VR38DETT has an aluminum cylinder block with plasma-sprayed cylinder liner bores and a four-bearings crankshaft supported system, forged steel connecting rods, a micro-finished one-piece forged crankshaft. The crankshaft journal diameter is 64.975 mm (2.5581 in), the crankpin diameter is 55.960 mm (2.2031 in).

The cylinder bore is 95.5 mm (3.760 in), piston stroke is 88.4 mm (3.48 in) and the compression ratio rating is 9.0:1. The Nissan VR38DETT motor has two compression and one oil control rings.

Cylinder block
Cylinder block alloyAluminium
Compression ratio:9.0:1
Cylinder bore:95.5 mm (3.760 in)
Piston stroke:88.4 mm (3.48 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 (3.759-3.7594 in)
Piston pin outer diameter:22.989-22.995 mm (0.9051-0.9053 in)
Piston ring side clearance:Top0.040-0.080 mm (0.0016-0.0031 in)
Second0.030-0.070 mm (0.0012-0.0028 in)
Oil0.045-0.125 mm (0.0018-0.0049 in)
Piston ring end gap:Top0.250-0.350 mm (0.0098-0.0138 in)
Second0.450-0.550 mm (0.0177-0.0217 in)
Oil0.200-0.450 mm (0.0079-0.0177 in)
Connecting rod bushing inner diameter:23.000 mm (0.9055 in)
Crankshaft main journal diameter:64.975 mm (2.5581 in)
Crankpin diameter:55.960 mm (2.2031 in)

Cylinder head

The cylinder head is made of strong, light aluminum alloy which gives it good cooling efficiency. The VR38DETT engine is equipped with a hydraulically actuated CVTC (Continuous Variable Valve Timing Control) system for intake cams. This mechanism hydraulically controls cam phases continuously with the fixed operating angle of the intake valve.

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 connect intake and exhaust sprocket on each head respectively.

The intake valve diameter is 37.0 mm (1.45 in) and the exhaust valve diameter is 32.0 mm (1.26 in), the intake valve duration is 238° and the exhaust valve duration is 248°. The VR38DETT 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:2238°
Exhaust valve timing:248°
Valve head diameter:INTAKE37.0-37.3 mm (1.456-1.469 in)
EXHAUST32.0-32.3 mm (1.2598-1.2717 in)
Valve length:INTAKE94.96 mm (3.7386 in)
EXHAUST91.96 mm (3.6205 in)
Valve stem diameter:INTAKE5.965-5.980 mm (0.2348-0.2354 in)
EXHAUST5.955-5.970 mm (0.2344-0.235 in)
Valve spring free length:INTAKE47.52 mm (1.8709 in)
EXHAUST53.81 mm (2.1185 in)
Exhaust camshaft journal diameter:№125.935-25.955 mm (1.0211-1.0218 in)
№2, 3, 423.445-23.465 mm (0.923-0.9238 in)
Camshaft lobe height:INTAKE44.865-45.055 mm (1.7663-1.7738 in)
EXHAUST45.185-45.375 mm (1.7789-1.7864 in)

Head tightening procedure and torque specs:

  • Step 1: 40 Nm; 4.1 kg·m; 30 ft·lb
  • Step 2: Turn all bolts 65°
  • Step 3: Turn all bolts 65° again
  • Step 4: Loosen all bolts completely
  • Step 5: 40 Nm; 4.1 kg·m; 30 ft·lb
  • Step 4: Turn all bolts 135°
  • Step 5: Turn all bolts another 135°

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)
Valve clearance (COLD)
Intake valve0.26-0.34 mm (0.0102-0.0134 in)
Exhaust valve0.29-0.37 mm (0.0114-0.0146 in)
Compression pressure
Standard9.9 kg/cm2 (145 psi) / 300 rpm
Minimun8.1 kg/cm2 (115 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 oilMobil 1 (0W-40)
Engine oil capacity (Refill capacity) With filter change 5.0 L (5.3 US. qts, 4.4 Imp. qts)
Without filter change 4.5 L (4.8 US.qts, 4.0 Imp. qts)
Oil change interval, km (miles)10,000 (6,000)
Ignition system
Spark plugNGK DILKAR8A8
Spark plug gap0.7-0.8 mm (0.0276-0.0315 in)
Spark plug tightening torque19.6 Nm (2.0 kg⋅m, 15 ft⋅lb)

Valve clearance adjustment data

Calculate the thickness of the 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 to range 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 808.

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 GT-R (R35)2007-
Nissan Juke-R (F15)2012-2015
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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