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Nissan SR20DET Engine

 

Without any doubt the splendid SR20DET is one of the most well-known Japanese performance engines of all times. SR20DET gained this reputation for its reliability and outstanding response to tuning applications. SR20DET appeared in Japan in 1989. Nissan Bluebird was the first model to receive the engine however SR20DET is generally known for its usage in Nissan Silvia and Nissan 180SX/200SX models.

 

Basically SR20DET was a 1998cc DOHC turbocharged engine with 16 valves. Throughout its life span, these basic features, and the design of the engine did not change. SR20DET was using a low pressure cast aluminum block whose cylinder walls were reinforced with iron liners.  With 86mm of bore and 86 mm of stroke SR20DET was employing a square design which allowed the engine to operate at high RPMs. Higher RPMs meant more vibration; in order to prevent vibration related engine failures that might happen during high RPM operation, increasing the stiffness of the engine was vital. A closed deck was used to improve stiffness of the water jacket and reduce the radiant voice. To increase the rigidity of the engine even further, deep skirt design was adopted. SR20DET’s cast aluminum pistons were treated with a special thermal coating at the top. A hefty crankshaft and connecting rods were used to withstand the pressure generated by the turbocharger.

 

Just like the block, head was also cast from aluminum. Intake and exhaust manifold were positioned in cross flow orientation. Spark plugs with individual ignition coils were placed in the center of pent roof type combustion chambers. Chain driven cams were operating 16 valves through Y shaped rocker arms. Y shaped rocker arm design was reducing the friction and therefore improving the fuel efficiency.

 

Nissan SR20DET Engine

 

Although these features were the same for all SR20DET engines, depending on the model and production year, SR20DET had variations.

 

 

First Generation Red Top and Black Top

 

The first generation of SR20DET was fitted to U12 and U13 Nissan Bluebird, and S13 Nissan 180SX models. This engine is generally known as “S13 Red Top” and “S13 Black Top”. It was available either as transversally mounted (Bluebird models) or longitudinally mounted (180SX models). First generation engines were equipped with a Garret T25 ceramic turbocharger which generated 7psi boost. Engine was breathing through a top mounted air-to-air intercooler and throttle bode size was 60mm. 370cc high impendance injectors were used to feed the engine. Engine was controlled by a 16-bit processor which was coupled with a AFM and knock sensor. With 8.5:1 static compression ratio Red Top and Black Top SR20DETs were delivering 205hp at 6000RPM.

 

Nissan Pulsar / Sunny GTI-R

 

From 1990 to 1995 Nissan, produced a special version of Pulsar / Sunny named GTI-R. This model was developed to homologate Nissan Pulsar / Sunny in World Rally Championship. GTI-R was released with a special version or SR20DET developed only to be used in these models. This engine is the rarest and considered to be the most sophisticated version of SR20DET. Garret T25 turbocharger was replaced with a larger T28 unit that delivers 10.5 psi of boost. Along with the increased boost, main cap bolts, head bolts and connecting rods were replaced with stronger ones. Compression ratio was slightly reduced to 8.3:1. Piston oil squirters were introduced for improved cooling and exhaust cam profile was revised. Probably most outstanding feature of the engine was the individual throttle body which improved the throttle response significantly. With bigger 444cc injectors and a larger intercooler, this version of SR20DET was delivering 227hp at 6400RPM.

 

 

S14 / S15 Black Top

 

With the introduction of S14 Nissan Silvia / 200SX SR20DET went through some modifications. The intake cams were now equipped with a variable valve timing mechanism called VCT. Intake manifold was redesigned with intake ports placed in a lower position compared the previous versions.  A ball bearing Garret T28 turbocharger was used along with a new Engine Control Unit (ECU).

 

Besides these changes, with release of S15 Silvia, SR20DET received a revised ECU and 480cc high impendance injectors. SR20DET was delivering 217hp at 6000RPM in S14 models, whereas SR20DETs fitted in S15 Silvias were delivering 247hp at 6400RPM. The glorious life of SR20DET ended in 2002 along with S15 Silvia.

 

Model

SR20DET

Displacement (cc)

1998

Power Output (hp)

205 - 247

Compression Ratio

8.3:1 - 8.5:1

Bore (mm)

86.0

Stroke (mm)

86.0

Years Produced

1989 - 2002

 

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