Nissan VQ35DE Engine Problems, Specs, And Reliability!November 5, 2022
Are you planning to purchase a Nissan car with the 3.5L VQ35DE engine and you are looking to learn more about the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because this article will be all about this engine.
- What Is The VQ35DE Engine?
- VQ35DE Applications
- VQ35DE Timing Belt Or Chain
- VQ35DE Engine Specs
- VQ35DE Engine Problems
- VQ35DE Reliability
- VQ35DE Trubo Kit
- VQ35DE Supercharger
Doing proper research before you purchase a car with a certain engine is the way to go. You shouldn’t go on the market blindfolded and not be aware about the problems that each engine has. And when it comes to problems, every engine has some. Some of them have more, while some of them have less.
It is really up to you to learn more about the problems that the engine has and estimate if this is a really good purchase or not. Proper investigation of the history and how this engine performs in different applications is the smartest thing you can do. And for this, we are here to help you out.
First, we are going to learn what is the Nissan 3.5L V6 engine and learn more about the basic concepts. Then we will cover the specs and applications in which this engine was included.
Once we clear the specs, we will discuss the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems and understand more about the issues that this engine has. And once we learn about the problems, we will move on to cover the reliability and give it a score. So, if you want to learn more about this engine, follow along till the end.
What Is The Nissan 3.5L V6 VQ35DE Engine?
Now before we discuss the Nissan VQ35DE Engine problems, let’s take a look and understand more about the VQ engine in general. I bet that there are a lot of people who want to learn more about the core concepts of this engine.
The VQ engine is an engine developed and manufactured by Nissan since 1994. This is a big family of V6 engines.
These engines come in a variety of displacements. Starting from 2.0L and up to 4.0L. This is Nissan’s finest when it comes to engines and probably one of the most refined V6 engines anywhere on the market right now.
All of these engines come in a 60-degree V6 configuration. The block and engine heads are all made out of aluminum.
What is interesting about this family of engines is that they implement a sequential multi-point fuel injection system (MPFI). This with the double overhead camshaft layout guarantees that these engines are the most efficient that can be.
The VQ series of engines also got many awards. Namely, it was honored with its appearance in the Ward’s 10 best engines list. Which really tells about the Nissan quality of the engines that they deliver. But what about the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems? More on that, we will cover in a bit.
Nissan 3.5L V6 VQ35DE Applications
So, we learned more about the VQ engine series. Now let’s take a look at which applications this series was included before we cover the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems. Knowing the applications in which this engine was included will be really beneficial if you want to purchase one of these models or you want to harvest one of these engines for your Nissan.
What is worth noting is that this engine found its way into many different applications and is still included in some of the newest Nissan models. The codename for the newest engine is VQ35DD. This means that this engine is an upgraded version with direct injection.
Nevertheless, the VQ35DE was included in the following vehicles:
- Nissan 350Z produced between 2003 and 2006
- Nissan Murano produced between 2003 To Present
- Nissan Maxima produced between 2002 and 2018
- Nissan Quest produced between 2004 and 2017
- Nissan Pathfinder produced between 2001 To Present
And not only in Nissan models, but this engine also found its way into some Infiniti models as well:
- Infiniti G35 Sedan & Coupe produced between 2002 and 2006
- Infiniti QX produced between 2001 and 2004
- Infiniti I35 produced between 2001 and 2004
- Infiniti FX35 produced between 2002 and 2008
- Infiniti M35 produced between 2004 and 2008
- Infiniti QX60 produced between 2013 and 2016
The newer version, namely, the VQ35DD is included in the following models:
- Nissan Pathfinder 2017 To Present
- Infiniti QX60 2017 To Present
Now let’s discuss a little bit about the specs of the VQ35DE before we cover the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems.
As we noted, this is an engine from the Nissan VQ series of V6 engines that include engines starting from 2.0L up to 4.0L in displacement. The 3.5 is found somewhere in the higher end of the spectrum and this is why this engine is so popular. It is perfect for mid-size cars like the Altima, Maxima, and the other applications in which it was included.
Nevertheless, this engine features a V6 layout with a 60-degree angle. The block and the cylinder heads are made out of aluminum. Making this engine really lightweight. More on the VQ35DE engine weight we are going to discuss in a bit.
What is important about this engine is that this engine has 6 cylinders and each cylinder has a bore of 95.5 mm and a stroke of 81.4 mm. The overall displacement is 3.5L or 3498cc. The compression ratio of the engine is 10.3, even though this aspect might vary from application to application.
The engine implements a double overhead camshaft layout (DOHC) with variable valve timing. With a total of 24 valves, this means that each cylinder implements 4 valves. 2 intake and 2 exhaust valves.
The power number are between 217hp and 304hp and 232lb-ft and 274lb-ft. The power numbers really depend on the application because this engine was differently tuned in each application.
The engine implements a sequential multi-point fuel injection (MPFI). Even though, the newest generation, the VQ35DD implements direct injection. This type of injection boosted the fuel efficiency as well as the power numbers that this engine produces. But what about the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems? More on the problems we are going to discuss in a moment.
VQ35DE Engine Weight – Nissan VQ35DE Engine Problems
We learned most of the specs. But what about the VQ35DE engine weight? How much this engine weighs?
The weight of the engine is about 313 lbs or 142 kg if you use metric units. Even though it is aluminum, it is on the heavier side.
Nissan 3.5 V6 Oil Capacity
So, we covered the VQ35DE specs, now let’s take a look a the oil capacity of this engine. How much oil does this engine need to run properly?
The oil capacity of this engine is 4.7 liters. That is somewhere close to 5 quarts of oil.
The oil change interval for this engine is about 10,000 miles and you should always use high-quality synthetic oil. The recommended oil viscosity for this engine is 5w30. If the engine burns oil, we would recommend that you go for a thicker oil like 5w40.
This will hopefully stop the problem without a major overhaul. But what about the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems? More on that, we will cover in a bit.
Nissan 3.5 V6 Timing Belt Or Chain
Another topic that we are going to cover before we discuss the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems is the question of whether the VQ35DE uses a timing belt or a timing chain. What is the real answer?
This VQ35DE engine, as well as all engines in the VQ family, runs on timing chains. And what is good is that according to some online sources, this chain should not be replaced unless it starts to rattle. Even though, we would recommend that you replace it when the car hits 100,000 miles or when it starts to make noises. Just for a good measure.
But more on this problem, we are going to elaborate in the following chapters where we are going to discuss the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems.
Nissan VQ35DE Engine Problems
So, we have covered the specs of this engine. Now we can slowly move on and learn more about the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems.
This engine even though it is really reliable, it has some common problems that can occur often we think that you should be aware of them. So, let’s cover them quickly before we discuss the overall reliability of the engine.
1. Ignition Coil Failure
The first in our list of Nissan VQ35DE engine problems is the problem with the ignition coils. Ignition coil failures are common on these engines. But what is an ignition coil?
Well, the ignition coil is a small electric transformer that is designed to drive high output current to the spark plugs. The ignition coils sit on top of the spark plugs and are connected through a connector to the wiring harness.
Other symptoms can include hesitation and loud pops from the exhaust. There could also be some smell of gasoline from the exhaust because the fuel does not burn well. Now let’s move on to the next Nissan VQ35DE engine problems.
2. Overheating Problems – Nissan VQ35DE Engine Problems
Next on our list of Nissan VQ35DE engine problems is the overheating issue. These engines can often overheat and cause major problems.
This problem does not plague all engines. But it is a rather common occurrence. Especially when pushed really hard like on the 350Z model.
So, you need to be prepared for this and even upgrade the head gaskets before you do some track use of the car.
Since if the head gaskets fail, the heads can warp and you will also have to do machining work in order to bring them in good condition. And this can be rather expensive. So, beware of this problem. Now let’s move on to the next Nissan VQ35DE engine problems.
3. Camshaft Position Sensor Failure
The next in our list of Nissan VQ35DE engine problems is the problem with the camshaft position sensor. So, what is a camshaft position sensor?
Well, a camshaft position sensor is a sensor that observes the position of the camshaft and makes sure that the engine timing is good.
What can happen is that this sensor can often fail and cause the car not to be able to start. You will be cranking the engine continuously and not be able to start it. Or start it after a lot of cranking.
This could affect the battery life and also the life of the starter motor. So, we would not recommend driving like this. Replacing this sensor will sort out the problem on your Nissan. Now let’s move on to the next Nissan VQ35DE engine problems.
4. Increased Oil Consumption – Nissan VQ35DE Engine Problems
The fourth problem in our list of Nissan VQ35DE engine problems is the increased oil consumption. What is worth noting is that this engine is known for its oil consumption problem.
This problem can occur with the increase of mileage on the engine. Especially after 150,000 miles. So, you should definitely be aware of this problem and always check the oil level on your engine.
The more often you check the oil level, the bigger the chance of leaving the engine to starve from oil.
What you can do in these situations, is you can try to use thicker oil like 5w40 instead of 5w30. A thicker oil will result in lower oil consumption. Now let’s move on to the next Nissan VQ35DE engine problems.
5. Timing Chain Failure
And the last problem on our list and also the most serious issue is the timing chain failure. As we noted previously, these engines use a timing chain.
This chain should not be replaced as many people claim. But what can happen is that the timing chain tensioner can fail.
These timing chain tensioners are plastic parts that put tension on the chain. And what can happen is that they can crack. Once the tensioner cracks, the chain will lose tension and the chain can jump.
Once the chain jumps, the timing of the engine will be ruined and engine damage can occur. The valves can be bent and this could simply scrap the whole engine completely. So, better to replace this chain when the car hits 100,000 miles. Just for a good measure.
Nissan 3.5 V6 Engine Reliability
As we cleared the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems, we can learn more about the reliability of this engine and find out how reliable this engine is.
Overall, this engine is pretty reliable. It doesn’t have any major flaws to it and can be pushed easily for more than 200,000 miles.
Oil consumption is an issue. But this can be reportedly solved by using thicker oil. It might not completely remove the problem but it will reduce it.
And when it comes to the overall reliability score, we would like to give this engine 4/5 stars in this aspect.
Nissan 3.5 V6 Turbo Kit
A lot of Nissan 350Z like to modify their cars and boost the performance of the model. And what is good is that this engine is covered really well in this aspect.
There is an AAM EFR Twin turbo kit that we learned about online and this kit is capable to push your 350Z up to 1000+ horsepower. Which is absolutely astonishing. But there should be some engine upgrades to be done if you want to push the engine this hard. Namely, forged pistons and rods and also some better flowing heads, and turbo blankets. You just don’t want to take the risk and add so much power to a stock engine.
Nissan 3.5 V6 Supercharger
So, we covered the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems as well as the turbocharger kit. Now let’s take a look more about the supercharging options that are out there.
As you know, supercharging is a lot simpler than installing a turbo kit. There is not a lot of plumbing and complexity. But is that the case with the VQ35DE? And are there any good superchargers for the VQ35DE? Let’s find out more about that next.
According to some owners of this engine, they managed to install a Magnuson/Eaton MP90 Supercharger on their 3.5L and were able to push the supercharger between 5.5 and 6 PSI of boost.
But this mod is not bolt-on as you would expect. There are a lot of things that have to be done in order to work. Namely, installing bigger injectors, intercooler, custom alternator pulley, custom thermostat housing, and whatnot. More on the project you can check in the link.
Conclusion To Nissan VQ35DE Engine Problems
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the Nissan VQ35DE engine. First, we covered the specs and applications in which this engine was included. You can find this engine in a ton of vehicles both by Nissan and Infiniti. With the most popular being the Nissan Altima/Maxima, and the Nissan 350Z.
Then we covered the Nissan VQ35DE engine problems. We elaborated on the five most common problems that this engine suffers from and then we gave it a reliability score. Lastly, we discussed turbocharging and supercharging for the ones that want to squeeze more power from their VQ35DE engine.
Is The VQ35DE A Good Engine?
In general, this is a very good and reliable engine, maybe even one of the best V6 engines released by Nissan. It has some issues but it is far from unreliable. This engine is included in a ton of Nissan and Infiniti models. More specifically the legendary 350Z, as well as the Infiniti G37 if you want to get a luxury model.
Are Nissan VQ Engines Reliable?
The VQ series of engines are probably one of the most reliable engines that Nissan ever made. They proved their performance through the years. These engines develop good power and also for a good price. They are not expensive to maintain and will easily last for 200,000+ miles.
What Are The Weak Points Of The VQ35DE?
Reportedly the oil pump is the weakest point of this engine. This oil pump is no good if you plan to track the car. So, if you consider driving the car under heavy load on the track, we would definitely recommend upgrading this part with an aftermarket solution. Other weak points include coil pack failure, timing chain tensioner failure, and increased oil consumption at higher miles.
How Long Do VQ35DE Engines Last?
These engines should at least last for 200,000 miles. Some of them last even more. It really depends on how well the engine was maintained. If you maintain it properly, it should easily last for 300,000 miles with no bigger issues. You might replace the timing chain once but that would be it.