The Three Frequent Nissan VQ35DE Engine Issues. The Nissan VQ35DE is a 3.5L V6 engine that was introduced in 2000. It’s a long-running engine that Nissan is still producing today, best known for its use in the 350Z and G35. Depending on the model, the 3.5 V6 produces 228-300 horsepower. The VQ35DE is a high-performance engine with excellent dependability and longevity. Unfortunately, no engine is flawless. This article discusses Nissan VQ35DE troubles, reliability, and specifications.
What Vehicles Utilize the VQ35DE?
The Nissan VQ35DE 3.5L V6 engine is found in the following Nissan and Infiniti models:
- Nissan 350Z model years 2003-2006
- G35 Infiniti 2003-2007
- From 2004 through 2017, Nissan Quest
- 2003-present Murano, Nissan
- QX60 (2014-present)
- Nissan Pathfinder (2001-2004)
- Pathfinder (2013-present) Nissan
- 2002-2018 Nissan Altima
- Infiniti QX4 from 2001 to 2004
- I35 Infiniti 2002-2004
- 2002-2018 Nissan Maxima
- FX35 Infiniti 2003-2008
- Infiniti JX35 2013
As you can see, the VQ35DE engine has a long list of years and models. We may be missing a few years and models from the list because there is so much to find. The 3.5 V6 is most commonly associated with the Nissan 350Z and Infiniti G35 vehicles.
Nonetheless, as a long-running engine, it’s had a few modest upgrades over the years to improve efficiency, dependability, and performance. However, various years and models may be more or less susceptible to the frequent VQ35DE issues we outline. Newer engines are also likely to be more reliable in the near run due to their reduced age and mileage.
Nissan VQ35DE Engine Specifications
The VQ35DE 3.5L engine has the following specifications:
We feel the engine’s longevity and breadth of use is a testament to its performance. Horsepower and torque are excellent for an engine from the early 2000s. It also has a redline of 6500, which may be increased to 7,000 on some of the “rev-up” Nissan VQ35DE engines. The point is, based on specs and real-world performance, the Nissan 3.5 V6 is a solid performance engine.
A forged crankshaft and connecting rods are also used in the 3.5L V6 Nissan engine. This improves strength and durability and allows the VQ35DE to handle more power with bolt-on upgrades. We’ll discuss this further in a future article regarding tuning and customizing the Nissan VQ35DE.
Three Common VQ35DE Engine Issues
Among the most prevalent issues with the Nissan 3.5L V6 VQ35DE engine are:
- Excessive oil usage
- tensioner / timing chain
- Oil spills
We’ll go over these three topics in depth throughout the rest of this essay. Finally, we’ll talk about the VQ35DE’s dependability and longevity. Before we get started, it’s vital to make a few short notes. For good reason, we’re calling these Nissan VQ35DE issues the MOST frequent. This does not necessarily imply that they are particularly common faults affecting a big percentage of engines. Rather, these are some of the most typical areas where failures occur.
Nissan has used the 3.5L V6 engine for nearly two decades. We doubt they’d remain with the engine for so long if it didn’t provide an outstanding blend of performance, dependability, and lifespan. Having said that, the VQ35DE is a dependable engine that has been known to exceed 200,000 miles with few breakdowns or severe concerns.
1) Nissan 3.5L V6 with Excessive Oil Consumption
This is a topic we’ll get to quickly. The VQ35DE frequently consumes oil at a rapid pace, especially as it ages and accumulates more mileage. Nonetheless, high oil consumption does not appear to be a source of concern for reliability. We are not aware of any other underlying issues that are causing increased oil use. It also causes no additional issues for the Nissan VQ35DE.
Of course, you should keep an eye on your oil levels because you may need to top them off between oil changes. It’s never a good idea to run out of oil. Nevertheless, there are no drawbacks to the Nissan VQ35DE engine’s high oil consumption. Aside than spending a few dollars more on oil between changes.
One more note – albeit this is by no means a widespread issue. If your consumption of oil becomes excessive, you should investigate further. This is especially true if it is accompanied by excessive exhaust smoke. Engines can lose compression and begin to use more oil as they age. It’s typically an indication that the VQ35DE is nearing the end of its useful life.
VQ35DE – How to Reduce Oil Usage
There are a few simple things you can do to help minimize oil consumption in the 3.5L V6 Nissan engine:
- Idle time should be limited.
- Make use of high-quality oils.
- Reduce the OCI
There aren’t many straightforward, low-cost strategies to cut oil consumption. But, these few things may assist a little. Avoid idling the engine for an extended period of time. With VQ35DE engines driven short distances, high oil consumption appears to be a greater issue. Use high-quality oils and consider using a slightly heavier weight oil. Replacing the oil more frequently can also assist.
2) Timing Chain Failures in VQ35DE
Moving on to a more prevalent engine problem with the 3.5 V6 VQ35DE engine. Remember, most problems are probably not as frequent as the internet would have you believe. Timing chain guides and tensioners, on the other hand, are two of the most typical issues on the VQ35DE. These components, as their names suggest, contribute to maintain tension and guide the timing chain. These are essential components of the Nissan VQ35DE timing chain system.
If the timing chain guides and/or tensioners are not serviced in a timely manner, the VQ35DE timing chain itself may suffer damage. We’ll go over the symptoms in more detail later, but keep an ear out for any loud rattling sounds coming from the engine. It’s usually an indication that the timing chain, guides, or tensioners are about to fail.
Checking the timing chain at the 150,000 mile mark is good maintenance. Issues normally appear north of 100,000 miles, but some timing chain systems can endure twice that distance.
Symptoms of Nissan 3.5L V6 Timing Chain
The following are some possible symptoms of timing chain, guide, or tensioner failure on the VQ35DE:
- Noise of rattling or clunking
- Engine light on
- Power outage / Limp mode
A rattling or clunking sound coming from the engine bay is the most common indicator of timing chain difficulties. This is typically the first indication that the Nissan 3.5 V6 timing chain is deteriorating. We’ve provided a video below to demonstrate the noises. If the timing chain is allowed to slip for an extended period of time, the ignition timing will be thrown off. At this stage, you’re likely to notice a variety of symptoms such as a check engine light, rough running, power reduction, and so on.
Timing Chain Replacement for VQ35DE 3.5L
Changing the guides and tensioners on the VQ35DE requires some moderately strenuous work. The labor alone can cost between $500 and $800. Of course, this varies greatly based on your region and year/model. Components typically cost between $100 and $400. It’s on the lower end if you’re only doing tensioners or guides.
With VQ35DE engines, we recommend installing a timing chain kit rather than replacing the entire system. This is especially important if your engine has a high mileage and you wish to keep the automobile.
3) Oil Leak Issues with Nissan VQ35DE
Now for the final of the usual issues with the 3.5 V6 VQ35DE engine. Oil leaks from the valve cover gaskets might occur as these engines age (VCG). Valve cover leaks are frequent on many engines, including the Nissan engine. After all, the valve cover gaskets on the VQ35DE are comprised of rubber. These gaskets undergo a lot of wear as the engine goes through constant heat cycles.
The material degrades and cracks with time. This permits oil to slowly leak from the valve cover area. The 3.5L V6 Nissan engine is usually not an emergency repair. But, leaks will worsen with time as existing cracks enlarge and new ones form.
The biggest risk is oil spilling onto heated components, which could result in a fire or other safety hazards. Because the valve covers are located near the top of the engine, oil can cause a mess in the engine compartment. Oil may wind up on other VQ35DE components, such as engine mounts, causing premature wear. The point is, while it is not an emergency repair, it is still a good idea to replace the VCG as soon as possible.
Symptoms of VQ35DE Valve Cover Gasket Oil Leak
Check for the following signs of an oil leak from the Nissan VQ35DE valve cover gaskets:
- Visible dripping
- The odor of burning oil
- Engine compartment smoke
One of the first indicators you’ll notice is a visible leak on the ground. Yet, it’s possible that the VCG has been leaking for some time before you detect. These leaks begin slowly, and any drops caught in the engine bay may burn off before leaking to the ground. As a result, you may notice burning oil odors or small amounts of smoke coming from the VQ35DE engine bay.
Replacement VCG for Nissan 3.5 V6
Valve cover gaskets, on the other hand, are dirt cheap. Each VQ35DE VCG will cost between $10 and $20. Yet, the effort can be time-consuming, thus labor costs can quickly pile up at a repair shop. Labor would generally take 2-4 hours for an expert mechanic, so plan on spending $200-400 for labor. It’s not a difficult Project if you have some time and basic understanding.
Reliability of the Nissan VQ35DE
Is Nissan’s VQ35DE 3.5L V6 engine dependable? Yes, in a nutshell. We believe the VQ35DE is more reliable than average. There’s a reason Nissan has used this engine for the past two decades. The 3.5 V6 engine provides a good blend of performance and dependability.
Generally, the engine is free of many common flaws. Most VQ35DE issues don’t appear until 100,000 miles or more, and it’s common for all engines to have a few failures as they age and mileage. As a result, the 3.5L V6 receives high grades for dependability.
Of course, how well you maintain the VQ35DE has an impact on its reliability. Maintain your vehicle and replace the oil on time with high-quality oils. If and when difficulties arise, resolve them as soon as possible. Maintain the Nissan VQ35DE properly, and it should last for 200,000 miles or more. Not too shabby in terms of longevity.
Overview of VQ35DE 3.5L Common Issues
It can be difficult to write about common engine problems. It brings up the negative aspects of an engine, and you start to fear the worst. But, that is not what we intend to do with these recommendations, especially not with the Nissan VQ35DE engine. It’s an excellent engine in every way. Performance that is dependable, efficient, and sturdy. There’s not much to criticize about the 3.5 V6, but no engine is perfect.
Oil consumption, timing chain parts, and valve cover gasket oil leaks are all regular issues with the VQ35DE. They’re all small difficulties in the broad scheme of things, especially given that most failures don’t occur until 100,000 miles or more. Given that these engines can go up to or beyond 200,000 kilometers, some issues along the way are unavoidable.