Tuning the Nissan RB26DETT

"Comprehensive guide to performance parts and tuning the Nissan RB26DETT engine!"

Now we shall detail the best approach to RB26 tuning and provide tips on the ultimate mods that work. Nissan RB26 are fantastic to work on and with the ultimate tuning tuning mods like a remap, turbo improvements and camshafts you will certainly maximise your driving opportunities.

Just because particular upgrades are appear in lots of RB26 projects it doesn't mean it is good, instead we will best upgrades that will give your RB26 the biggest power gain return for your cash.

Altering your RB26 camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine torque. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the torque accordingly.

NB: Fast road camshafts commonly boost the bhp and torque through the rpm range, you could sacrifice a little low down bhp but the high end rpm power will be better.

Motorsport camshafts, boost the high end rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

In a daily driver you need to optimize your engines power to your driving style.

I'd be shocked if you if you have ever thought a RB26 Race cam is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic.

Each engine responds better to more aggressive camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The ecu map and fuel pump and injectors also will say much on the power gains you'll make.

Longer valve durations can alter the power band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

Stage 1 modifications: Remaps/piggy back ECU, Panel air filters, Intake headers, Sports exhaust manifold, Fast road camshaft, Drilled & smoothed airbox.

Stage 2 modifications: Fast road cam, fuel pump upgrades, Ported and polished head, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, high flow fuel injectors, induction kit.

Stage 3 modifications: Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Competition cam, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Twin charging conversions, Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Review your options and then find your tuning parts and set yourself a power target to avoid disappointment.

Remaps should help to fully realize the full potential of all the parts you've fitted to your RB26.

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but your mileage usually rely on the parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

It is vital to any engine upgrade project to get air and fuel into your RB26

Headers take the air during the suck phase from the air cleaner and allow it to be fed into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

The bore size, shape and flow rate of the Intake manifold can make a noticeable difference to to fuel atomisation on the RB26.

We often see plenum chambers are improved through aftermarket parts, although a few manufacturers provide decently flowing plenum chambers.

Larger RB26 valves, getting RB26 port enlargement and head flowing will also increase performance, & more importantly will give you a greater performance increase on other modifications.

RB26 DETT Turbo upgrades

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes impressive power gains.

If a car is turbocharged, tuning mods are more reliable and you'll see that turbo engines will have harder and stronger components.

There are reliable limits for every engine, with some being extremely strong and some just sufficiently able to handle stock power

See where you'll find these limits and install more solid crank and pistons to handle the power.

There are many people spending a a stack of money on turbo charger upgrades on the RB26 only to see the RB26 go up in smoke soon after it's finished.

The HKS 2510 or 2530, Garret T3 are good options for a power boost on daily driver thanks to the low lag they offer.

Big capacity turbo units tend to experience low end lag, and low capacity turbo units spool up quickly but do not have the peak rpm engines power gains.

Thankfully the range of turbos is always improving and we now see variable vane turbos, where the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and feed these at differently angled vanes in the turbo. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there's a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAF on the RB26 when considerably more air is being sucked into the engine.

You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting power at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp and torque gains, although more challenging to get working. We have this article on twincharging if you want to read more.

Fuelling upgrades and mods

Don't miss you'll need to raise the fuel system when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty. Most tuners we speak with say to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

The rule of thumb is to add another 20% when specifying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and gives a bit of spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

Exhaust upgrades and mods

You may need to boost your exhaust if the current exhaust is creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the flow rate is good even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts generally help improve air flow from the engine but do not go too big or you could will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the filters installed, so adding a better flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots, Issues & common problem areas on the RB26

The RB26 engines, if regularly serviced and maintained, are generally very reliable and have few issues.

Regular oil changes are vital on the RB26, particularly when the engine has been modified and is putting down more power than the manufacturer intended.

History of the Engine

The high performance N1 version makes a great source of performance parts, as the turbo, water and oil pumps and cylinder block design support higher power figures than the stock RB26.

You can see around 600bhp on stock internals on the RB26

For more information on Tuning your RB26 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our RB26 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We really like hearing from our readers, and hearing about which modifications were the most effective for them, it helps us improve our recommendations and articles to reflect current trends in modifications and ensures that our RB26 guides and tips are kept up to date.

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