The 4 Typical Nissan VQ37VHR Engine Issues. The VQ37VHR engine from Nissan was introduced in 2008 and is still in production today. It has a 3.7L naturally aspirated V6 engine that produces 325-350hp depending on the application. The VQ37 was based on the VQ-HR engine series, which was best known for the VQ35HR, which was used primarily in the Infiniti G35 and ‘Rev-Up’ 350Z. In this article, I will go over Nissan VQ37VHR engine problems, reliability, specs, and other topics.
Nissan VQ37VHR Specifications
The Nissan VQ37 engine specifications are as follows:
The VQ37 engine has received a number of minor updates over its 12+ years of production. Power levels, on the other hand, have remained constant throughout its production history. While these power figures may not feel as robust as they did in 2008, the VQ37VHR is still quite capable.
The VQ37VHR was Nissan’s first production engine to use variable valve event and lift (VVEL) technology. VVEL is a variable valve timing system, similar to BMW’s Valvetronic and Toyota’s Valvematic systems.
With forged crank and rods, the VQ37VHR can produce 600-650whp before internal upgrades are required. Given that the VQ37 is naturally aspirated, basic bolt-on modifications are unlikely to result in significant power gains. Forced induction will be required to achieve serious power levels.
What Vehicles Make Use of the VQ37VHR?
- G37 Infiniti 2008-2016
- Nissan Skyline V36 (2008-Present)
- From 2009 to the present, Nissan Fuga
- Infiniti QX70 / FX37 2009-2017
- Infiniti QX50 / EX37 2009-2017
- 2009-Present Nissan 370Z
- Infiniti Q50 / M37 (2011-Present)
- Infiniti Q40 2015
- Infiniti Q60 from 2014 to 2016.
- From 2014 to the present, the Infiniti Q70
As previously stated, this engine has seen a number of minor enhancements over the years. Because of age and mileage, these common engine problems will be less common on newer cars. A few of these issues have been resolved over time, so we’ll do our best to identify which model years are affected by which issues.
Engine Issues with the Nissan VQ37VHR
The following are the most common Nissan VQ37VHR engine issues:
- Failure of the Oil Galley Gasket
- Catalytic Converters are a type of catalyst.
- Failure of a Water Pump
- Consumption of Oil
In the following sections, I will go over each of the aforementioned VQ37 issues in greater detail. Although these are common issues, they do not apply to every engine and owner. Furthermore, the VQ37VHQ may encounter issues that are not covered in this article.
1. Failure of the Oil Galley Gasket
Two oil galleys are located inside the timing chain cover and between the blocks of the VQ37VHR engine. These galleys are in charge of directing oil through the timing chain system. The cover is sealed to the block by two gaskets, one “T” shaped and one “L” shaped.
Both of these gaskets frequently fail on engines built in 2012 and earlier. Nissan revised the gasket design in 2012, which caused the failure. However, it is unknown when the new gasket design was implemented in 2012, so the problem may still affect 2012 models.
When either of these gaskets fails, oil pressure drops. The drop is usually abrupt and without any preceding warning signs. When the oil pressure drops, the car enters limp mode and typically displays the P0011 and P0021 engine codes.
If you notice a drop in oil pressure, you should immediately turn off your engine and have it towed. Even a few seconds of driving on low oil pressure can result in catastrophic internal engine damage.
Symptoms of Nissan Oil Galley Gasket Failure
- Oil pressure is low.
- Limping mode
- Engine codes P0011 and P0021
Unfortunately, there isn’t usually any indication that this problem is on the way. It happens rather quickly, which is why you should always be wary of oil pressure and be prepared if it occurs.
When this happens, you may also experience a number of other symptoms. If your timing chain fails, it can cause serious misfires, rough idling, and other problems. Furthermore, if the internals are not properly lubricated, you will most likely hear some knocking noises coming from the engine. You will notice a loss of power, a lack of acceleration, and a variety of other performance issues. However, if you encounter these other issues, it is likely that you have suffered some internal damage.
Options for Oil Galley Gasket Replacement
The only option if these gaskets fail is to replace them. We’ve seen quotes ranging from $1,600 to $3,500 just to replace the gaskets, depending on whether the shop is independent or a dealership. If you have other engine damage, you may need to have the engine completely rebuilt or replaced.
Because of the frequency of this issue and the serious damage it can cause, many VQ37 owners replace them before the problem occurs. The updated oil galley gaskets can be purchased for around $35 and installed by removing the timing cover.
Failure of the Catalytic Converter
Catalytic converters are the primary system for reducing emissions in any vehicle. They are located within the exhaust system and use chemical reactions to convert hazardous nitrogen oxide into pure nitrogen and water. Rare earth metals such as palladium, platinum, and rhodium are used in the internal workings of a catalytic converter. When exhaust gases come into contact with these metals, a chemical reaction occurs that breaks down and cleans the gases.
Catalytic converters on the VQ37VHR are known to become clogged due to high exhaust gas temperatures. The metals inside the cats are arranged in a honeycomb pattern. When exhaust gas temperatures rise too high, these metals are burned and the cats become clogged.
On the VQ37, we’ve seen catalytic converters clog as early as 75,000 miles. This, however, is more common in older engines and is less likely to occur in newer model years with those mileage levels. High engine temperatures are the most common cause of clogged cats. Check your cooling system for proper operation, and never drive your car if it begins to overheat.
Symptoms of Catalytic Converter Failure in the VQ37VHR
- Exhaust squeak
- Misfires in the cylinders
- O2 sensor failure
- Check engine light for AFRs that are too low
- Idling in a rough manner
- Inadequate performance
When the cats clog, a massive amount of backpressure is created, forcing exhaust gases back into the combustion chamber. When this happens, the air-to-fuel ratios are thrown off, resulting in misfires and overall poor performance and idling.
If your cats become clogged, they must be replaced. First and foremost, you will fail an emissions test. Second, it will impair performance and general drivability.
You have two options: replace the cats with OEM replacements or aftermarket replacements. Aftermarket allows you to use an improved high-flow catalytic converter or go catless and use test pipes. Both high-flow and catless options will provide a performance boost over the OEM system, typically in the 5hp range. Just keep in mind that while catless options provide more power gains, they are also illegal and will result in an emissions failure.
Failure of the VQ37VHR Water Pump
Water pump failure is more of a routine maintenance item than a common issue with the VQ37VHR. Water pumps use pressurization to circulate coolant throughout the engine. Because the pump is under high pressure, its internal components are prone to wear and deterioration. Furthermore, because it contains internal metal components, it requires oil lubrication.
Internal seals in water pumps are prone to failure. It also has what is known as a weep hole or vent hole. The vent hole serves as a warning for water pump failure and allows coolant and oil to escape. When the oil seal inside the pump fails, oil begins to leak from the weep hole. Coolant will leak from the vent hole if the internal water pump seal fails.
In either of these scenarios, the water pump must be replaced. If the internal seals fail, oil and coolant will mix, causing serious collateral damage.
The water pump on the VQ37 engine usually fails around 100,000 miles. Again, this is more of a routine maintenance item than a problem. Water pumps wear out over time. Just be careful not to drive on a broken water pump, which can lead to overheating.
Symptoms of Water Pump Failure
- Overheating of the engine
- Engine light on
- Coolant is dripping from the water pump.
- Whining from the pump
- Dripping oil or coolant from the vent hole
4. Excessive Oil Consumption in the Nissan 3.7L V6
The VQ37, like its VQ35DE predecessor, is prone to excessive oil consumption. High oil consumption is more common in older and higher mileage engines and usually develops over time. Fortunately, the oil consumption issues do not appear to be affecting engine reliability or longevity.
These engines are known to consume approximately 1 quart of oil every 1,000-2,000 miles driven. While this does not cause any serious problems, it is important to keep an eye on oil levels at all times. We recommend keeping a quart or two in your trunk for when you need it.
The timing chain drives the 3.7L V6. While the timing chains on these engines are extremely durable, low oil levels can cause timing chain failure. When oil levels are low, the timing chain is usually one of the first components to be starved of oil, so burning excess oil and running low can cause timing chain failure.
Furthermore, if you have an older, higher mileage engine, excessive oil consumption may indicate low cylinder compression. If you notice white smoke coming from the exhaust, misfires, power loss, or a sluggish-feeling engine, it could be due to low cylinder compression, which usually indicates that your engine is nearing the end of its life.
Reliability of the Nissan VQ37VHR 3.7L V6
Overall, the VQ37VHR engine is very dependable. With a forged crank and rods, the engine can handle some serious power levels. Given that the stock engine produces roughly half of the horsepower that the block and major engine components can handle, any problems with these components are unlikely.
Due to oil galley gasket failure, 2012 and earlier models are slightly less reliable. 2013 and later models are extremely dependable and do not have any concerning common issues.
So far, the VQ37VHR appears to be dependable and capable of 200,000+ miles. Keep in mind that a few common maintenance items, such as water pumps, gaskets, hoses, and so on, will appear.
Except for the galley gaskets, all of the problems we mentioned are minor and will not result in engine failure or costly repairs. The VQ37 engine is a fantastic performance motor with 350hp and almost no problems. Just keep in mind that forced induction and other modifications will reduce engine longevity and likely result in some additional maintenance items popping up more frequently.
How has your experience been with Nissan VQ37VHR dependability?