The Real Basics - Nissan Skyline GT-R , R32, R33, R34
Maintaining your new to you, just imported to the USA, Nissan Skyline GT-R. The first things you should have a look at. If you just bought a Nissan Skyline GT-R there are a few things you should check, and you should know before you go out and do too much drag racing, or running around the road course. This guide goes though a few of the basics for your RB26DETT. We originally wrote this back in 2000. Since then, we have updated a few things over the years, but there are always updates coming. With 17 years of experiences with this platform,we have seen a lot. However there are always new and cool things out there.
If you are looking for an R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R Buyers Guide, check this one out!
The R32, R33, and R34 GT-R's engines, suspension, and drivetrain are very similar. From 1989-2002 there were upgrades, but they were more evolutionary, than revolutionary. Nothing like say the R31 to R32, or the R34 to the R35. RB26DETT, Super Hicas, ATTESA. Many parts can be interchanged between the cars easily. A few can not, so make sure you double check, before you get that exhaust cam for an R34, to find it wont work on your R32/R33 engine. Many other parts of the cars interchange with other Nissans. From suspension arms, to brake parts.
RB26DETT Myths and Truths | Advanced Notes | importavehicle.com | Buy-R.com | Maintenance Requirements for RB26DETT/R32
|Calsonic Blue R32 GT-R. Over 25 years old, legally imported to the USA by importavehicle.com|
1) Oil - 7.5W-30 recommended in Japan(R32). A good 10-30W synthetic is a start for a street car. Oil Change/Filter change. Keep it happy. We have used Redline 15/50w or 10/30w full synthetic. We are on Royal Purple now, and seems to be working well for us. There are guys out there, that just go nuts over oil. 4.5 liters, stock. Filling it to the bump on the dipstick is generally considered acceptable. There are some crazy oil guys out there. Check Bob is the Oil guy if you want to go oil nuts.
2) Oil Filter - OEM 15208-60U00 OEM R32 - AY100-NS007 , K & N HP-2008, MOBIL M1-208 , WIX 51361 ,OEM(R34, smaller filter) 15208-9E000
3) Fuel - 91 AKI(RON+MON/2) in California. Higher some places . You don't want to run anything less than the highest octane pump gas available. Japanese 100 octane, is not 100 AKI. Its about 95 AKI. E85 has become popular the last few years for turbo cars. This is something we are going to be trying out soon. See how the old elements in the system react to it. There are some issues in not having E85 in a flex fuel format, where you can run a tank of E10 (aka pump gas) through it every now and then. E85 is also not always E85 but can range from about E70 to E90.
|R33 air inlet to the stock airbox.|
5) Spark plugs - PFR6A-11 are the stock Nissan Skyline GTR plug made by NGK. PFR7A-11 are one heat range cooler, also from NGK. You may want to tighten the plug gap up if you are going to up the boost. Stock gaps on these plugs are 1.1mm which is pretty wide for a spark plug.NGK Iridium's work well(BCPR7EIX). With the NGK's we haven't had a problem. Check out this great video on diagnosing misfires. The issues with having the coils in the valley of the head, and covered, is they cook. I personally think that about 40% of peoples issues with misfires, are the coil harness cooking in the valley. 20% is probably spark leaking from the boot. 10% the plug. 10% the coil. 20% the ignitor, ecu, or CAS. It takes about 5000 less volts to arc a iridium plug vs a copper plug. So generally an iridium plug will help your ignition system last longer, and work less hard.
|NGK Racing Dual fine wire spark plug|
6) Fuel filter - Same as a 1996 Infiniti J30. Its a good idea to change it when you get the car. Its almost the same as a 300ZX filter, but the outlet has a 90 degree bend on the actual filter. G5237
7) Transmission fluid - Don't try and fill it though the gear shifter. Though the gear shifter is the transfer case . Get a good GL4 75-90. (We love Redline Shockproof Heavy). The Getrag in the R34 uses its own special fluid, although we have used Redline ATF with success.
8) Front Differential - GL5 85-90
9) Rear Differential - LSD GL5 80-90
10) Transfercase - Nissan Automatic Fluid Type D
11) ATTESA System - Nissan Automatic Fluid Type D
12) Fluid Fill Levels for R32/R33 Nissan Skyline GT-R
Engine Oil - 7.5 - 30 (10-30 for a street car, 15-50 on a track car) - 4.5 liters
Oil Filter - OEM 15208-60U00 , Fram PH3682 ,OEM(R34, smaller filter) 15208-9E000
Cooling System - Approximately 9 liters. Gycol or Water? Depends where you live.
Front Differential (F160) - GL5 85-90 1 liter - (1 quart)
Transmission fluid - Don't try and fill it though the gear shifter. Though the gear shifter is the transfer case . GL4 75-90 4.1 liters (4.3 quarts)
Transfercase - Nissan Automatic Fluid Type D 1.8 liters (1.9 quarts)
Rear Differential(R200) - LSD GL5 80-90 1.5 liter(1.5 quarts)
What needs to be upgraded , when ?
|And to show you can't trust anything on the internet here is an identifier from NISMO.|
Fuel injectors - 444cc at 42 psi in 1989, or 1990, or 1991. Its not 1989 anymore. Lets just say that each cc of injector - on a 6 cylinder car is good for 1 hp... So with the stock injectors we can make 444 hp at the motor.... its just an approximation , but its pretty close. The stock injectors are "yellow" tops. They are also low impedance(2 ohm), so there is a resistor pack located on the right side of the engine compartment. In the chart above you can see at 2.55 kg/cm2 (36 psi) of fuel pressure the injector flows about 440 cc. At 3.05 kg/cm2 (43 psi) of fuel pressure it flows about 485 cc. At 3.55 kg/cm2(50 psi) it flows 525 cc. Don't get too crazy with the fuel pressure. Your fuel pump relief valve might end the fun soon.
Fuel Pump - 195 L/hr . If its 25 years old, it might be a good idea to change it Nismo replacement is 276 l/hr . Apex'i Replacement is 276 l/hr. A great page on fuel pumps is the Stealth 316 page. Very detailed.
|Stock R32 fuel pump rests in a small sump. Nismo pump top. Stock below.|
Turbos - Above about 1.1 bar the stock ceramic exhaust wheels have a tendency to break the exhaust wheel off. People have gone low 12's, high 11's on the stock ceramic turbos, but not for long. Luckily the NISMO R32's came stock with all metal turbos.
Records for stock turbos. Stock peak boost R32 Skyline GT-R is about 0.8 , R33 0.9, R34 1.0. Need to go to a full metal turbo. HKS GT series are good turbos. We have also run Apex'i AX series turbos. The 2530's or 2860-5's are the way to go with the small GT series for about 450-500 whp on pump gas on a 2.6 liter engine.
|Missing ceramic exhaust wheel|
Oil pump - Early R32 has a narrow oil pump drive. Late R32/R33/R34 has a wider drive. The oil pump should be replaced if you plan on revving above 8,000 rpms. Some more information on oiling and oil pumps for the RB26. Spline Drive upgrade for the RB26dett.
|Tomei Oil pump : The best wet sump RB26 oil pump|
Clutch - The early Nissan Skyline GT-R's clutches are push style actuation. The late 93 R32 up clutches are pull. Push or pull refers to the action to release the clutch. A push clutch, does just that, pushes on the disk cover or diaphragm, to release pressure on the disks, so the center is disengaged from the engine. A pull clutch pulls on the diaphragm to release pressure on the disks.
You can identify the clutch itself by the clutch cover. If it has open fingers, then its a push. If it has a ring, then its a pull. The stock Nissan clutches have gone low 12's, but in an R32. R33/R34 they give up pretty quickly. High 12's, slip them a few times, and they are done.At least a sturdy single plate. Nismo twin plate works well. HKS twin plate is fairly hard to drive , but you get used to it. It also makes a bit of noise. A triple plate is very difficult to drive in a street car. More information - http://www.gtrusablog.com/2015/11/push-vs-pull-clutch-nissan-skyline-gt-r.html
|Pull style, or late NISMO clutch for an R34 GT-R.|
MAF - The stock RB26 65mm MAF(Mass Air Flow) sensors are good for about 400 wheel horsepower. Above then they run out of range and max out their voltage. A popular replacement(in 2000) is the Nissan 300ZX meters. A 300ZX uses one MAF - we double up for the GT-R.They are physically larger. More recently the R35 blade style MAF have become popular. With most stand alone engine management, most cars go to a MAP(Manifold absolute pressure) sensor. The thing about MAP based tuning is that the density of air is dependent on temperature and pressure. Some ECU's swap over to MAP based load, but with the ITB's, it can be a difficult thing to tune for part throttle.
|Large Sebrab oil cooler being fitted to an R32|
|ARC oil cooler on a Super Taikyu R34 GT-R|
Camshafts - Stock the RB26DETT camshafts are 240/236 duration 8.58/8.28 mm of lift. If your aftermarket camshaft has more than 9.1 mm of lift, the head needs clearance around the lifter bucket due to the height of the camshaft lobe. Small cams will generally see at least 20 whp, and will generally also pickup response. Stock base circle is 32 mm. Many of the higher lift aftermarket camshafts have 30mm base circles.
Brakes -Stock R32 brakes are an upgrade for 300ZX's.Stock Vspec R32 brakes are Brembos. Stock R33 /R34 are Brembos. For most people these are adequate . Brake pads are up to whatever is the latest and greatest. Generally speaking if they work really well, they throw a lot of dust, and squeal like a stuck pig at low speeds. Brakes on 1990 Nissan Skyline GT-R NISMO #500.
What Breaks ?
Clutch- Lots of power and AWD . The fuse in the driveline is the clutch. You have a lot of possibilities here. My favorite "normal" clutch is the Nismo twin plate clutch - along with a Nismo Slave Cylinder(even though it is not recommended to use with a twin plate). The twin plate clutch will work until around 600 hp at the wheels. It has a very nice feel , plus its a sprung hub , for that extra give in the driveline. We have used HKS/Tilton twin and triple plate clutches. They are non -sprung hub. The HKS/Tilton twins are fairly difficult to drive. Or as Sport Compact Car called one "the clutch from hell". The triple could not be recommended for a street car. It was extremely difficult to drive on the street. Carbon clutches are great but very expensive. The Tilton true carbon/carbon clutch costs around $7000.
|Pull style/ late R32/R33/R34 clutch. This is a Nismo|
|Tilton carbon/carbon triple plate clutch. These clutches are all push style|
Transmission - In R32 ,R33 making over 500hp to the wheels , 3rd gear has had some issues while drag racing. The synchros are also not all that durable. The internals of the R32,R33 are the same as the 300ZX twin turbo. Redline Shockproof Heavy Gear Oil. We used it in our 10.7 drag car with a stock transmission and it seems to really help with transmission durability.
The Getrag(V160) in an R34 requires its own special oil.The oil is available from Toyota dealerships and its $40 a liter. The Getrag does not like Shockproof Heavy, so don't use it in it. We ran Redline High Temp ATF in the R34 GT-R Racecar with success. OS Giken transmission internal upgrades for the R32-R33 seem to be good up to 700 hp. If you want to go fast straight, there are some guys building a strong Nissan automatic box.
|Early and late R32/R33 transmissions broken 3rd gear|
Turbos - The stock R32,R33 ,R34 turbos have ceramic exhaust wheels . Detonation has caused more than one of these to break off , thereby causing a normally aspirated GT-R. Don't detonate on the stock turbos. In Japan they say the limit is 1.1 bar.You can run more, just be prepared to change the turbos. Popular upgrades are going to a single turbo manifold. Our problem with singles are, the old manifolds, and turbochargers that are not divided exhaust inlet are a big less responsive than a proper twin turbo setup. Then the tubular style exhaust manifolds can crack, the flanges can warp. In 17 years, never had a OEM cast manifold crack or warp. In the same time, had a dozen differnt single manifolds crack, and warp.
|The wheel on the left is metal, the one on the right is ceramic|
Oil pump- Early R32's have an oil pump drive that is about half the width of the late R32/R33/R34 crankshaft. That combined with an 8000 rpm factory redline leads to the occasional misshift over rev and the oil pump gears break.
The N1 oil pump is similar to a stock pump with a stiffer spring.We had a lot of N1 oil pump failures. These pumps were direct from Nissan, not knock off's as some have speculated. Many aftermarket companies make upgraded pumps. The motor has to come out, they cost $1000 and up.
|Wide RB26 oil pump drive|
#6 cylinder - #6 cylinder is the lean cylinder. Every motor has a lean cylinder. Its also at the back of the engine, last to get coolant flow. The stock intake collector(not really a manifold as its on the front side of the throttle bodies) design forces air to stack up at #6. The Nismo inlet plenum was designed to balance flow though the motor. This is not really a basic, rather something just good to know. Just know that if you ever run the car lean, you will probably hurt #6 first. Also if you are checking compression or leak down, try out #6 first.
|Nismo plenum, stock airbox , 600+whp|
Why you shouldn't use a Japanese market tuned ECU.
Japanese market premium fuel is rated at 100 octane.They use a different method of determining octane in Japan. Here in the US -Southern California our premium fuel is 91 octane (RON+MON/2) or AKI . Of course you can buy 104 unleaded from VP. You can also buy 100 octane unleaded out of the pump at some 76 stations. But for all practical purposes 91 octane is as high as you will get here in Southern California. Some places in the US you can get up to 94 out of the pump at "normal" gas stations.
- R32 GT-R Buyers Guide - Are you looking to buy an R32? Check here.
- Advanced Notes - after you are finished with the basics, check out some of the advanced notes.
- Suspension and Alignment Settings - R32,R33,R34.
- Nissan Skyline GT-R Transmissions and Upgrades
- Is it legal to drive a RHD car in the USA?
- Nissan Skylines in the USA for sale at importavehicle.com