VG33E Engine

Nissan VG are 2.0-3.3L V6 piston motors, employed for a number of vehicles from the brand’s range. The debut motor of lineup appeared in 1983 and soon, VG turned into the first assembly line V6 motors in Japan. Keeping iron block plus aluminum heads, primary motors of the range received a single overhead camshaft with two valves per cylinder.

Hereinafter, some updates were made, leading to creation of motors with other block plus dual overhead camshaft with four valves per cylinder. Moreover, the brand applied its specific modification of variable valve timing to make idle smoother plus achieved more torque at low and medium rpm. Block contains a monoblock main bearing cap. Motors with such updates were utilized for Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo plus NPT-90 racing automobiles, which managed to gain victories at the IMSA GT Championships for three consecutive years.

Since 1984, VG motors were utilized in a vast number of Nissan automobiles. In 2004, their manufacture was ceased and led to creation of VQ lineup.

Nissan VG33E

VG33E, a 3.3L V6 60° four-cycle naturally aspirated ICE with water cooling, was released between 1996 and 2004.

Keeping cast iron block plus 2 aluminum heads with single overhead camshafts and two valves per cylinder, these motors feature multiport fuel injection system plus electrical ignition system having mechanical timing and distributor.



Nissan Pathfinder 1996–2004
Infiniti QX4 1997–2000
Nissan Frontier 1999–2004
Nissan Xterra 2000–2004
Nissan Elgrand (E50) 1997–2002
Nissan Quest (V41) 1999–2002
Mercury Villager 1999–2002
Nissan Paladin 1999–2004
Nissan Terrano (R50) 1995–2002


VG33E specs

Engine code VG33E
Layout Four stroke, V6
Fuel type Gasoline (petrol)
Production 1996-2004
Displacement 3.3 L, 3,275 cc (199.85 cu in)
Fuel system Multi Point Fuel Injection
Power adder None
Power output 170 PS (125 kW; 168 HP) at 4,800 rpm
182 PS (134 kW; 180 HP) at 4,800 rpm
Torque output 266 Nm (27.1 kg·m; 196.3 ft·lb) at 2,800 rpm
274 Nm (27.9 kg·m; 202.2 ft·lb) at 2,800 rpm
Firing order 1-2-3-4-5-6
Dimensions (L x W x H):


Standard 12.2 kg/m2 (173 psi) / 300 rpm
Minimun 9.0 kg/m2 (128 psi) / 300 rpm
Compression differential limit between cylinders 1.0 kg/m2 (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, 20W-40, 20W-50
Oil type API API SG or SH
Engine oil capacity (Refill capacity) With filter change 3.7 l (3-7/8 Us. qt., 3-1/4 Imp. qt)
Without filter change 3.4 l (3-5/8 Us. qt., 3 Imp. qt.)
Oil change interval, km (miles) Every 6,000 (3,750)
Ignition system
Spark plug Standard type: NGK BKR5ES-11
Hot type: BKR4ES-11
Cold type: BKR6ES-11
Spark plug gap 1.0-1.1 mm (0.039-0.043 in)

Fuel System

VG33E employs 2 kinds of fuel injection timing:

Sequential multiport fuel injection works contemporaneously with the motor. Fuel enters cylinders at every cycle pursuant to firing order.

Simultaneous multiport fuel injection is launched after motor’s start or during fail-safe system functioning. Fuel gets injected contemporaneously into all cylinders twice during motor cycle.


Ignition System

ECU manages ignition system, serving to preserve optimal air-fuel proportion for any type of engine operations. ECM stores ignition timing information, creating a map. ECM gathers data about injection pulse width plus camshaft disposition sensor signal. Calculating all data, ignition signals get forwarded to the power transistor. Compression index equals to 8.9.

VG33E features a 91.5 millimeters (3.6 inches) cylinder bore plus 83 millimeters (3.27 inches) piston stroke, producing from 168 hp (170 PS or 125 kW) to 180 hp (182 PS or 134 kW) at 4,800 rpm with torque from 266 Nm (27.1 kg/m or 196.3 ft/lb) to 274 Nm (27.9 kg/m or 202.2 ft/lb) at 2,800 rpm.


Cylinder Block

VG33E is provided with a cast iron block featuring 4-bearings crankshaft support system. Keeping 91.5 millimeters (3.6 inches) cylinder bore plus 83.0 millimeters (3.27 inches) piston stroke. It reaches compression index of 8.9. Being supplied with 2 compression plus 1 oil control rings, this motor has forged steel connecting rods featuring 154.10 millimeters (6.0669 inches) center spacing.

Crankshaft main journal is 62.9 millimeters (2.48 inches) while crankpin is 49.9 millimeters (1.97 inches) and center spacing equals to 41.5 millimeters (1.63 inches).

Cylinder block alloy Cast-iron
Compression ratio: 8.9:1
Cylinder bore: 91.5 mm (3.6 in)
Piston stroke: 83.0 mm (3.27 in)
Number of piston rings (compression / oil): 2 / 1
Number of main bearings: 4
Cylinder inner diameter (standard): 91.500 mm (3.6024 in)
Piston skirt diameter (standard): 91.485 mm (3.6018 in)
Piston pin outer diameter: 20.971-20.983 mm (0.8256-0.8261 in)
Piston ring side clearance: Top 0.024-0.076 mm (0.0009-0.0030 in)
Second 0.030-0.070 mm (0.0012-0.0028 in)
Oil 0.015-0.185 mm (0.0006-0.0073 in)
Piston ring end gap: Top 0.21-0.44 mm (0.0083-0.0173 in)
Second 0.50-0.69 mm (0.0197-0.0272 in)
Oil 0.20-0.69 mm (0.0079-0.0272 in)
Connecting rod small end diameter: 20.982-20.994 mm (0.8261-0.8265 in)
Connecting rod center distance: 154.1-154.2 mm (6.067-6.071 in)
Crankshaft main journal diameter: 62.975 mm (2.4763 in)
Crankpin diameter: 49.974 mm (1.9675 in)
Crankshaft center distance: 41.47-41.53 mm (1.6327-1.6350 in)


Cylinder Head

Being built of durable but lightweight aluminum alloy, cylinder head provides motor with great cooling. It keeps monoblock single overhead camshafts for every head plus rocker shaft featuring rocker arms. One timing belt controls camshafts.

Diameter of inlet valve is 42.0 millimeters (1.65 inches) while exhaust one is 35.0 millimeters (1.38 inches). Camshaft duration equals to 244 degrees for inlet part plus 240 degrees for exhaust one. Every valve employs double valve spring. VG33E features 2 valves for each cylinder, keeping hydraulic tappets with automatic adjustment. While motor’s lower inlet manifold is made of cast aluminum, upper inlet manifold may be of identical material as well as of plastic.



VG33E is an outstanding motor. Though it may seem to lack energy comparing to modern models, it easily copes with various types of terrains. Plenum construction is rather complex, but still every car enthusiast will cope with it. Elements are for sale at pretty low prices. The motor may run for more than 300,000 miles with no faults if proper maintenance is provided.

Written by Dan Hoffman

Dan Hoffman

Dan is a co-founder of Engineswork. He knows everything about internal combustion engines. Ask your questions in comments down below this article – he will be glad to help you anytime.

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