The Guide for Nissan RB30 engines. The 3 litre inline-six RB30 engine is an outstanding example of the Nissan RB engine family, one of the most celebrated engine series in recent history. The engine was primarily produced by Nissan between 1986 and 1999 for the Australian and South African markets. The RB30 turbo type is still one of the most sought-after racing engines today, though. In the VL Commodore, it only produced about 200 horsepower, but modified and constructed variants are now capable of producing upwards of 800 horsepower in various applications.
Even though the RB25DET and RB26DETT, which have lesser displacements, are more well-known, the RB30 is still a very capable tuner motor. It is now a highly well-liked engine for swaps in Australia. Moreover, several versions have begun to reach the United States either as independent games or imported Skylines.
Everything you need to know about the RB30 engine will be covered in this article. Before delving into the technical specifications, vehicle applications, engine specifications, typical issues, and most significantly, performance and modifications, we’ll take a quick look at the engine’s history.
But first, let’s admire this stunningly customised RB30DET, which is producing more than 800 horsepower while using a Garrett GT4294R turbo at 39 PSI.
History of Nissan RB30 engines
Nissan introduced the RB30 engine for the first time as the naturally aspirated RB30E in 1986, primarily for the Australian market. They installed the RB30E in a number of Skyline grades, where it produced 153 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. Nissan installed a high performance RB30E engine with 176 more horsepower in the Skyline GTS1 in 1988.
Nissan unveiled a new, highly effective RB30E in the Skyline GTS2 the next year, in 1989. The GTS2 produced 200 lb-ft of torque and 190 horsepower. still aspirated normally.
The Skylines were only produced until 1990 in Australia, while they were still available in South Africa for another two years, until 1992. Nissan exclusively made the naturally aspirated RB30 engine, which was available in both fuel-injected and carbureted forms. The RB30ET, a turbocharged variant, was available, but solely from Holden.
To power the Commodore in 1986, Holden, a GM subsidiary for the Australian market, required a new engine. Nissan entered into a contract with Holden to begin using RB30s in the new VL Commodore because their outgoing engine was unable to fulfil the higher emissions standards.
The RB30 was offered by Holden in two variations. a high performance turbocharged 201 horsepower RB30ET and a naturally aspirated 153 horsepower RB30E. Holden replaced the Commodore’s RB30ET engine in the new VN Commodore after just three years, from 1986 to 1988.
RB30S for the Nissan Patrol
Nissan also made the RB30S, a normally aspirated model with a carburettor in place of fuel injection, which was installed in the 1989–1999 Nissan Patrol ST. The Patrol RB30S is capable of producing 165 lb-ft of torque and 134 horsepower. Nissan used the RB30 for ten years in the Patrol before discontinuing it in late 1999.
Technical Engine Specs for the RB30
Nissan RB30 Automobiles
The following automobiles used Nissan RB30 engines:
- Holden Commodore VL, 1986–1988 (RB30E & RB30ET)
- Nissan Skyline, 1986–1990 (RB30E)
- GX Skyline
- GXE Skyline
- Slender Skyline
- Ti Skyline
- SKYLINE DIRECTOR
- GTS1 Skyline (1988)
- GTS2 Skyline (1989)
- SGLi Skyline 3.0 (1987-1992)
- Nissan Patrol ST30, 1989–1999 (RB30S)
Fundamentals of Nissan RB30 Engine Design
A 3.0 L inline-six engine powers the RB30. The RB30 was produced by Nissan and Holden in three different iterations: the RB30S, RB30E, and RB30ET. The RB engine code is composed of the letters “RB” for the “RB” engine series, “30” for the 3.0 L displacement, “S” for the carburettor, “E” for fuel injection, and “T” for the turbocharger. The RB30ET features fuel injection and a turbocharger, RB30E has electronic fuel injection, and RB30S is carbureted. Nissan produced the RB30S and RB30E, while Holden was the only manufacturer of the RB30ET.
All Nissan RB30 engines have a cast iron block with an 86 mm x 85 mm bore and stroke, and an aluminium alloy head. The series 1 and series 2 RB30 engine blocks are different. The sole distinction between the two is that the series 2 blocks have already been tapped for water and oil feed lines, making them ready to accommodate turbochargers. The blocks are identical other from that. Whether or not they had a turbo, all Skylines and VL Commodores had the Series 2 blocks.
RB30E power output figures
The RB30S was rated for 134 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque with a normally aspirated and carbureted engine. The basic Skylines’ RB30E engine had somewhat higher ratings, with 157 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. The Skyline GTS1 and GTS2’s RB30E engines produced 176 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque (GTS1) and 190 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque (GTS2), respectively (GTS2). This rise was brought on by updated ECU programming, higher flowing exhausts, and modified camshafts.
The RB30ET was different from the RB30E in a number of respects. The RB30E/S had a 9.0:1 compression ratio, whilst the RB30ET had a lower 7.8:1 compression ratio to accommodate boost. The RB30ET had stronger connecting rods, piston cooling oil jets, a larger oil pump, a revised camshaft, new intake and exhaust manifolds, and obviously, a Garrett T3 turbocharger – but without an intercooler. The RB30E had smaller 190cc injectors.
At 201 horsepower and 218 lb-ft of torque, the RB30ET produced more power than the RB30E in its base configuration. In a time when 300 horsepower is regarded as entry-level, this might not sound like a tonne, but in the mid- lot late 1980s, it was a pretty respectable amount.
Engines RB30DE and RB30DET
Although the RB30DE and RB30DET engines are well-liked in the aftermarket, Nissan never released them since they are hybrid motors. D stands for dual overhead camshaft in the engine code (DOHC). To achieve this, a regular RB30E/T block is fitted with an RB25DE or RB26DETT cylinder head and/or turbo. The RB25DET is not frequently employed.
Performance, fuel efficiency, and horsepower may all be improved with the DOHC cylinder head and twin cam configuration. It converts the RB30DE/T into a 24 valve engine and adjusts the compression ratio to approximately 8.2:1, which makes it very boost friendly. Famous Japanese tuner TommyKaira created one of the most well-known RB30DE and RB30DET engines for the M30 Skyline. This model has an RB20DET head and produced 240 horsepower.
Nissan RB30 Reliability and Frequent Issues
The RB30 is reputed to be able to take some severe miles, just like the rest of the RB series. Nissan designed these engines to travel over 400,000 km (250,000 mi) without tiring, and they are more than capable of it. Some owners of RB30-powered vehicles have even clocked up more than 400,000 miles on the odometer. Also, Nissan built the RD six-cylinder diesel engine on the RB block, which should highlight its durability.
The major consideration for the RB30 series will be timely and appropriate maintenance. We’ll discuss how the RB series has consistently had oiling problems. It is crucial to ensure that proper oil changes are performed every 3–5 000 miles.
The timing belt on RB engines is also a known weak point and should be replaced no less frequently than every 60,000 miles. Because the RB30 IS an interference motor, a broken timing belt can have significant, costly effects. Because the valves do not fully close in interference engines when the timing belt snaps, the piston will collide with the valve as it approaches top dead centre, typically bending or breaking the valve.
Crank Collar and Oiling Problems with the RB30ET
The oiling system and crank collar are the two main issues with the RB30. This isn’t simply an issue with the RB30 series; there have also been problems with the oil pump and oiling systems with the RB20/25/26. This problem affects them all (early RB26 only).
Repair for RB30ET Oil Control System Problem
The RB30’s oil control problem is that the oil pump pours too much oil into the cylinder head at higher RPMs. As a result, oil clumps collect on top of the head and do not flow back down into the oil pan. The issue is made worse by oil return routes that are too small.
When on the track, especially, the oil collecting on top of the head can cause oil hunger problems. In the worst situation, oil may leak from the cam breathers and into the inlet system, removing it from the rotating assembly that requires it.
There are five procedures required to resolve the RB30 oil control issues. To stop extra oil from entering the head, you need first block the rear oil feed gallery. To properly manage the oil flow to the head, you need also add a restrictor to the open oil gallery. Third, for better head drainage, you should run an external oil line from the head to the sump. For the RB series, Franklin Performance created this head oil drain kit.
Fourth, to improve drainage, you should machine out the oil return galleries by 1mm. In order to improve the galleries’ ability to absorb the oil, you should machine the area around them (and thus drain it quicker). After you have completed these steps, you can enhance oiling by using a bigger sump and oil pump. A dry sump is the best option for builds that produce a lot of horsepower.
This is a great manual that provides a more thorough step-by-step approach to solving the issue. The following crank collar problem is also addressed in the guide.
Repair for the RB30 Crank Collar Problem
The RB30 crank collar has an issue because the area of the crank snout that contacts the oil pump drive is too small and prone to wear. The oil pump gear may crack or shatter as a result of damage to both the pump and the crank, leading to a total loss of oil pressure.
Repeated high RPM engagement exacerbates the problem because, as you may think, low oil pressure at high RPM leads to serious issues. Probably the most frequent RB30 problem is this one.
The stock crank collar needs to be machined off and replaced with one that allows for greater engagement of the inner oil pump gear in order to solve the issue. Here is a Franklin Performance RB30 crank collar.
Apart from these two primary problems, the RB30 series will continue to function properly for many kilometres with proper maintenance.
Flaw in the VL Commodore RB30ET
Although this is more of a design problem than an engine flaw, it does affect the RB30ET in the Holden VL Commodore. The header tank on the radiator is lower than usual because of how the Commodore’s snout is made. While it’s usually not an issue, if you refill your radiator and don’t completely bleed the air out of the system, you could end up with air locks and hot spots, which could cause major damage.
Skylines did not experience this problem since the radiators were placed high enough and did not have a sagging nose. It’s nevertheless important to mention even though this isn’t a major problem and can be prevented by properly bleeding the coolant system.
Performance Improvements for the RB30
The RB30ET produces 201 horsepower and 218 lb-ft of torque out of the box, while the RB30E produces 157 horsepower and 186 lb-ft. These are pretty low power figures, especially by today’s standards. Fortunately, the RB30 loves nothing more than to accept updates. Many people run RB30-powered cars with 300 to 400 horsepower, and the best builds can reach upwards of 800 horsepower.
It is possible to upgrade the RB30S to electronic fuel injection, however it is neither simple nor quick to do. If you have an RB30S and want more power, you should start looking for a larger carburettor. We advise starting with the RB30E or RB30ET if you’re really serious about producing more than 200 horsepower.
Building the RB30DET
Forced induction will be necessary if you want the RB30 to produce any usable power. The block you choose to use will therefore be your first factor to consider when building an RB30. If the RB30ET is already in your possession, you are in luck; if not, you must use a Series 2 RB30E block. The series 2 blocks are already equipped with oil and water feeds, as was already indicated, making them turbo-ready. A series 1 block can be machined to series 2 requirements, but doing so obviously takes longer and costs more money.
New intake and exhaust manifolds are also required if the RB30E is being converted to a turbo. If you can obtain them from a VL Commodore, they will certainly function; otherwise, you can order bespoke or aftermarket parts.
The turbo will be the next thing you do. The Garrett T3 stock turbo on the RB30ET can produce a maximum of roughly 225 horsepower. People have been known to use the RB25 T28 turbo, which produces 250 horsepower at 7-8 PSI of boost, for various low-cost projects. A 3076 or 3540 with an.82 rear housing are good upgrades for the 350+ horsepower range if you’re seeking for a little more power.
You still own an RB30ET at this time, therefore you want to replace it with a twin-cam DOHC cylinder head from the RB25DE or RB26DETT. The twin-cam configuration enables superior tuning for both low and top-end power, and these heads breathe considerably better. You can utilise the RB30 twin-cam change guide provided here as a resource.
Related : The Top 5 Honda Accord Modifications
Supported Modifications for RB30DET
You should have no trouble pushing past 350 horsepower with these modifications, or perhaps more with a bigger turbo. Nevertheless, your new RB30DET won’t live very long without some simple supporting modifications. The essential supporting mods you’ll need are listed below.
You should first upgrade the fueling system. This calls for bigger gasoline pumps and fuel injectors. You’ll need injectors that flow in the 30–40 lb–hr range for 300–400 horsepower, depending of how much power you’re producing (turbo).
The exhaust, which should be fully 3″ from the turbo-back, is the next thing you need to check. Also, you need add an intercooler, ideally front mounted. This will greatly aid in cooling the charge air and allowing for the maintenance of more power. It also helps to have a new intake, which you’ll need if you’re fitting a turbo to a N/A vehicle.
You will then require an upgraded ECU and ECU tune. The Power FC, Haltech, or NIStune for moderate builds are the two most widely used ECU modifications. You can have the automobile tuned for a new ECU to create the most power while maintaining dependability.
Moreover, you should fix the crank collar and oil control system that we previously specified. You should feel comfortable pushing 350+ horsepower for a very long time with all of these auxiliary modifications. The engine’s power restrictions will be your next factor to take into account.
Power Limitations for RB30
The Nissan RB30 has an extremely robust block and rather robust internals. Several builds using the stock internals and block have successfully produced more than 500 horsepower. When compared to other engines, the connecting rods are renowned for being particularly sturdy.
The engine’s internals do not need to be changed if you intend to keep under 450 horsepower. Getting forged pistons is a smart idea after you get past 450 horsepower. Several folks have installed RB25DE/T pistons in their RB30, but beware—this will drastically reduce compression and negatively affect the vehicle’s performance off boost. For these motors, a reasonable compression ratio for running boost is between 8.5 and 9.5:1.
The block and connecting rods can easily produce 500 horsepower aside from that. Forged head studs and connecting rods are a smart choice if you’re aiming for more, as are enhanced valve train components like springs.
Nissan Legacy RB30
Nevertheless, the RB30 is still a very strong engine even though it might not draw as much notice as its smaller displacement RB20 cousins. Nissan designed the RB30 for dependability, which is amply demonstrated by the enormous number of distance they can travel before failing. More than 250,000 miles (400,000 km) can typically be placed on one without the need for any significant rebuilds.
The RB30 is a special piece of history, whether you’re looking at the naturally aspirated or turbocharged models. It won’t blow you away with its jaw-dropping power right out of the box; instead, it concentrates on simplicity and dependability, and it excels at both. If you really want to see some astounding power figures, though, simply take a peek at these 700 horsepower RB30 powered Skylines.