Nissan SR20DET Engine Specs, Problems And Reliability

SR20, a celebrated Nissan motor, was first released in 1989 as an alternative to the cast-iron CA20. Initially, it was employed for the Nissan Bluebird automobile. SR20DE, a well-known motor of the lineup, has a square shape with an identical piston stroke and cylinder width of 86 mm. The motor keeps an aluminum cylinder block containing dry cast iron sleeves. Rods have a length of 136.3 mm.

The cylinder head consists of 2 camshafts with four valves per each cylinder. Having a multi-point fuel injection system, the motor can achieve 140 hp at 6,400 rpm.

Besides, the brand released the SR20Di motor with a single-point fuel injection system. Unlike DE, it keeps restyled head accompanied by mended ports. Its output is 115 hp at 6,000 rpm. But let’s get a closer look at SR20DE.

The initial modification of this motor was called SR20DE Red Top or High Port because of its red valve cover. It featured camshafts with a duration of 248/240 degrees and a lift of 10.0/9.2 mm. Engineers raised motor rev limiters to 7,500 rpm due to utilizing an exhaust system with 1.75 inches in width.

In 1994, Nissan launched the SR20DE Black Top/Low Port, which was more eco-friendly. It featured updated inlet ports, camshafts with a duration of 220/240 degrees and lift of 9.2/9.2 mm, exhaust system of 1.5 inches in width.

Some updates were made in 1995, including an intake camshaft with a duration of 232 and a lift of 8.66 mm, a decreased redline of 7,100.

From 2000, ST20DE containing roller rockers expanded the brand’s range. Camshafts gained a duration of 232/240 degrees and lift 10.0/9.2 mm. Besides, 3mm shorter valves, lighter pistons, updated valve springs, a lighter crankshaft, and a shorter intake manifold were utilized. In 2002, Nissan stopped producing these engines.

SR20DET Specs

The breakdown of the engine code is as follows:

  • SR – Engine Family
  • 20 – 2.0 Liter Displacement
  • D – DOHC (Dual Overhead Camshafts)
  • E – Electronic Fuel Injection
  • T – Turbocharged

The Lack of the letter “D” on some of the engine identifications indicates a SOHC cylinder head.

ManufacturerYokohama plant
Also calledNissan SR20
Cylinder block alloyAluminum
4 valves per cylinder
Piston stroke, mm (inch)86 (3.39)
Cylinder bore, mm (inch)86 (3.39)
Compression ratio8.3 (SR20DET)
8.5 (SR20DET)
9.0 (SR20VET)
9.5 (SR20DE/SR20Di)
11.0 (SR20VE)
Displacement1998 cc (121.9 cu in)
Power output85 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 output166 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
Redline7,100 (SR20DE Low port)
7,500 (SR20DE High port)
7,500 (SR20DET Red top)
7,200 (SR20DET Black top)
7,200 (SR20VE)
HP per liter57.6
Fuel typeGasoline
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 oil5W-20, 5W-30, 5W-40, 5W-50, 10W-30, 10W-40, 10W-50, 10W-60, 15W-40, 15W-50, 20W-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
Compression pressure
StandardRed Top and Black Top:
12.5 kg/m2 (178 psi) / 300 rpm
Roller Rocker:
13.0 kg/m2 (185 psi) / 300 rpm
MinimumRed Top and Black Top:
10.5 kg/m2 (149 psi) / 300 rpm
Roller Rocker:
11.0 kg/m2 (156 psi) / 300 rpm
Compression differential limit between cylinders1.0 kg/m2 (15 psi) / 300 rpm
Oil system
Oil consumption, L/1000 km (qt. per mile)up to 0.5 (1 qt. per 1200 miles)
Recommended engine oilTo positively improve fuel economy: 5W-30
For warm and cold areas: 10W-30
For hot areas: 20W-40 and 20W-50
Oil type APISF, SG, SH, or SJ
Engine Oil Capacity (Refill capacity)With filter change 3.4 l
Without filter change 3.2 l
Oil change interval, km (miles)5,000-10,000 (3,000-6,000)
Oil Pressure, kPa (kg/cm 2, psi)Idle speed: More than 78 (0.8, 11)
3,200 rpm: 314-392 (3.2-4.0, 46-75)
Ignition system
Spark plugStandard: BKR5E-11 (NGK); RC10YC4 (Champion)
Hot: BKR4E-11 (NGK)
Cold: BKR6E-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

What Cars Have An SR20DET?

  • 1990-1994 RNN14 Pulsar GTI-R

Compressor Flow: 33 lb/MIN
Throttle Body: Quad
Injector Flow: 440cc/min
Ignition Timing: 20º BTDC

  • 1991-1998 180SX

Throttle Body Bore: 60 mm
Injector Flow: 370cc/min

  • 1995-1999 S14 Silvia

Throttle Body Bore: 50 mm
Injector Flow: 370cc/min

Nissan SR20DET Engine Oil Capacity

The SR20DET engine requires 3.9 quarts of 10W-30 oil with a filter.

SR20DET is a turbo edition of SR20DE, released from 1989 to 2002. Let’s consider its peculiarities.

SR20DET Red Top, featuring a red valve cover, was the primary motor of the turbo range, manufactured from 1989 to 1994 and meant for Nissan Bluebird and 180SX S13 automobiles. It employed a Garrett T25G turbocharger with a boost pressure of 7 psi (0.5 bar). It kept updated pistons with a compression index of 8.5, strengthened rods, fuel injectors 370 cc/min, camshafts with 240/240 degrees, and lift of 9.2/9.2 mm, throttle body of 60 mm. Its output was 205 hp at 6,000 rpm and a torque of 274 m at 4,000 rpm.

In 1990-1994, an option of Red Top with higher efficiency was released. Its compression rate descended to 8.3. It utilized a Garrett T28 turbocharger with a boost pressure of 10.5 psi (0.72 bar). Camshafts had duration 248/248 degrees and a lift of 10.0/10.0 mm. Other characteristics included fuel injectors 440 cc/min, strengthened head bolts, oil jets, stronger rods and camshaft, and individual throttle bodies.

The above-mentioned changes added efficiency, producing 230 hp at 6,400 rpm and a torque of 280 Nm at 4,800 rpm. It was utilized for Nissan Pulsar GTi-R, designed specifically for World Rally Championship.

SR20DET Generation 2, named Black Top, featured a black valve cover. It was manufactured from 1994 to 2002, having several modifications. This motor was utilized for Nissan 180SX S13 and Nissan Bluebird. The main differences from Red Top included a black valve cover, oxygen sensor, restyled head ports, fresh pistons, and electronic control unit.

One more variant of Black Top was designed specifically for Nissan Silvia S14. Its characteristics include an intake camshaft with variable timing control (VTC), an updated intake manifold, and a throttle body of 50 mm. Garrett T28 turbocharger with boost pressure 7 psi (0.5 bar) and a compression rate of 8.5 was applied. Motor capacity was 220 hp at 6,000 rpm and a torque of 275 Nm at 4,800 rpm.

A variant with the greatest modernization was designed for Nissan Silvia S15. It featured a Garrett T28BB (GT28R) turbocharger with a boost pressure of 11.5 psi (0.8 bar), a large intercooler, and fuel injectors 480 cc/min. This motor had an output of 250 hp at 6,400 rpm and a torque of 300 Nm at 4,800 rpm.

Moreover, a motor with a gray valve cover, named SR20DET Silver Top and employed for Nissan Avenir, was designed in two versions:

  1. Silver Top containing Garrett T25G turbocharger with a capacity of 205 hp.
  2. Silver Top containing Garrett T25BB turbocharger with a boost pressure of 9 psi (0.62 bar). Its capacity is 230 hp.

SR20DET Common Engine Problems And Reliability

  • Erratic Idle and jumping idle
  •  Fuel pump failure
  • Surge and hesitation between 1500 and 3000 rpm
  • Oil leak from the rocker cover gasket

SR20DE keeps great reliability and durability. However, some troubles with idle air control and mass airflow sensor are possible.

This motor can run for more than 250,000 miles (400,000 kilometers). The timing chain can serve for nearly 150,000 miles (200,000-250,000 kilometers). As this motor has hydraulic lifters, there is no need to regulate valves.

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The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only. The author and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of any information presented. The reader is advised to consult a qualified professional, such as a mechanic or dealership, before making any decisions related to their vehicle's engine oil or maintenance.

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