The Typical Nissan GT-R VR38DETT Engine Issues. Nissan’s popular R35 GT-3.8-liter R’s twin turbo V6 VR38DETT engine is no laughing matter. Yet, we’re tempted to dismiss this motor and go on. Let’s be honest: the GT-R already has a cult following, and we’re not here to add to it. But that’s not right. The Nissan GT-R is a fantastic automobile, and its VR38 engine is even better. Nonetheless, every car ever built has potential faults and failures. In this piece, we’ll talk about the VR38DETT engine’s reliability and weaknesses.
The GT-R VR38 engines are handcrafted.
Since its launch in 2007, every VR38 has been hand-built. Each one is handcrafted by one of only five “Takumi Craftsmen.” Every VR38DETT engine is assembled from top to bottom by these extremely skilled and well-trained craftsmen. Once finished, their names are emblazoned on the engine. It’s quite great, in our opinion.
It also demonstrates how meticulously the Nissan VR38DETT engines are made. As a result, the GT-R V38 engine doesn’t have many typical issues. It is not to suggest that problems cannot occur. Particularly on R35 VR38 engines that have been modified and driven vigorously. We’ll go over this more later, but the VR38 engine is quite reliable in factory form. But, there are a few typical issues with other power-train components.
Nissan GT-R Common Issues
Among the well-known problems with the GT-R VR38 engine and powertrain are:
- Rattle for Bellhousing
- Transmission Issues
**VR38 Engine Blown**
**There is a rationale for the asterisks. We do not want to give the impression that the VR38 engine is prone to frequent or widespread complete engine failure. Rather, the VR38 has no substantial common issues worth mentioning. Again, other issues can and will arise at some point. There just doesn’t seem to be anything that is constantly bothersome. We’ll go into blown motors in more detail below as a fascinating topic and something to think about for individuals who are customizing their R35 GT-Rs.
1) Bellhousing Rattle GT-R VR38DETT
The transmission of the R35 GT-R is located at the rear of the vehicle. Chevy has followed a similar strategy with their Corvettes. The precise design of the two, however, differs slightly. A torque tube connects the engine and transmission of the Corvette. Nissan chose to install the bellhousing to the engine and then connect it to the transmission via a drive shaft.
This implies that the VR38 engine and bellhousing can be moved independently of the transmission. It’s a small bit of movement, but it’s sufficient. The shaft bearings within the R35 bellhousing appear to be the weak point. With time, the output shaft develops excessive play. As the GTR bellhousing acquires more play, the rattling often becomes worse. Fortunately, there are remedies and fixes available. It’s also a reasonably inexpensive fix in comparison to the cost of even a secondhand GT-R.
Repair and replacement of the GTR bellhousing rattle
For starters, some owners prefer to live with the rattling. Even when it isn’t too extreme and there isn’t much play. Companies such as ATR offer long-term solutions for individuals looking for a long-term answer. They bore out damaged GTR housings to accommodate steel inserts and new shaft bearings. This eliminates the rattling and serves as a long-term cure. The overall configuration of the VR38 engine, bellhousing, and transmission system remains the real issue. As a result, the problem is likely to reoccur. But, these options should buy some time.
The modified bellhousings for the R35 GTR are available from ATR in two price ranges: $899 and $1,299. Installation also takes a few hours, so consider in labor costs if you aren’t planning to do it yourself. Even if you have the work done at an independent business, the costs should be less than $2,000. It’s not cheap, but when compared to the GT-R, it’s not bad.
2) Transmission Issues with the Nissan GT-R
Transmission problems are never fun in any vehicle. Transmission engineering and components are frequently perplexing. It’s also not always easy to find local shops with the necessary experience to fix transmissions. Fortunately, the most common problem with the R35 GTR’s transmission is a simple one. Let’s get started by explaining the most prevalent failure.
Metal on metal contact occurs inside transmissions at all times. As a result, little metal fragments are gradually moved around in the transmission fluid. Thus far, there hasn’t been a problem. The GTR’s transmission, on the other hand, has two solenoids that govern gear selection. These solenoids can behave as magnets, attracting minuscule metal particles. The solenoid(s) may eventually become blocked, causing problems with the R35 entering specific gears. The solenoid in charge of gears 1 – 3 – 5 – R appears to be the most prevalent.
Other potential transmission issues do arise from time to time, of course. We’re not focusing on those issues, but it’s something to think about. Transmission failure is quite unusual in stock R35 GT-Rs. But, if you push things too far, the transmission may develop difficulties. We’ll leave it at that because it relates to our discussion on VR38 engine issues.
Replacement GT-R Transmission Solenoid
Frequently, the GT-gearbox R’s solenoids do not need to be replaced. A basic cleaning typically suffices. Unfortunately, the R35 transmission must be removed in order to clean the solenoids. This is a labor-intensive job that could cost a couple thousand dollars to repair. It could also be a good opportunity to switch to higher-quality transmission fluids such as Dodson or Willall. It also doesn’t hurt to upgrade the filter.
Finally, solenoid problems seem to arise most frequently when transmission fluid is changed too soon. By changing the fluid more regularly, you may be able to mitigate or buy more time. The objective is to give metal less time to accumulate in the fluid and perhaps stick to the solenoids. Better grade oils and filters may also aid in the slowing of buildup.
3) Engine Failure on the Nissan GT-R VR38DETT
Remember, this is not a common occurrence. There are no significant, continuous design defects that should cause the VR38 engine to fail abruptly or dramatically. Yet, and perhaps we’re not alone, when we think of the R35 GT-R, we think of the 800whp, 1000whp, and 1500+whp models. Most people understand that getting there costs a lot of money.
Putting a safe top limit on an engine is never an easy undertaking, and the VR38 is no exception. The VR38 very rarely fails at stock power and boost. There are, however, a few occurrences of blown VR38DETT engines with full bolt-ons. Everything else being equal, the further and harder you push things, the more likely the engine will fail. It is true for any vehicle. Yet, it is widely acknowledged that the VR38 engine and transmission are capable of producing approximately 650 horsepower.
Even if the number is lower, things can still go wrong. At X torque, larger turbos are likewise easier on the VR38DETT engine. In the future, we’ll have more in-depth articles on these issues. Larger turbos, in general, move the power curve to the right, allowing them to produce greater top-end power without relying on enormous torque.
When Modded, GTR VR38 Longevity
Similarly with the issue of torque limits, it’s difficult to quantify longevity when pushing the R35 beyond stock power. We’ll go over some general principles that are vital to remember. Oil changes and other routine maintenance are becoming increasingly vital. Examine the VR38’s data for symptoms of knock, lean circumstances, and so on.
Tuning is also an important component in determining longevity. Choose a dependable, high-quality tune and play it safe. Consider it like constructing a more powerful engine. If you want 1000whp, you probably did not build the engine to handle that much power. You most likely designed the VR38 to handle 1200whp.
The VR38 should be safe at 650 torque on the OEM motor and transmission if done correctly. The risk is still present. There are, however, techniques to reduce that danger. Bigger turbos, conservative tune, careful monitoring, and timely maintenance are just a few of the options available to you.
Finally, if you’re concerned about exceeding the limitations, you may contemplate creating the R35 engine from the ground up. It’s far cheaper to do it now rather than after you’ve put a rod through the block. So you’re looking at a new engine, plus any damage caused by metal shards to other components. We’re not trying to terrify people. The GT-R and VR38 are fantastic vehicles, but as with any engine, the VR38 is prone to failure when pushed to its limits.
The GT-R VR38DETT’s dependability
Overall, Nissan’s VR38 engine is outstanding and dependable. There aren’t any common problems with the engine itself. Of course, with age and mileage, problems are sure to arise. The VR38DETT, on the other hand, does not appear to have any severe design faults. These hand-assembled engines are practically faultless in quality.
The transmission is the most problematic aspect of the R35 GT-R. Because of the construction of the rear mounted transmission, the bellhousing is technically a part of the transmission and endures rattling problems. Otherwise, the transmission has a history of solenoids clogging and causing shift problems. They appear to be the GTR’s principal problems.
Is the Nissan GT-R trustworthy? Yes. How trustworthy is the Nissan GT-R? It’s difficult to respond without generalizations, although the GT-R is above average for high-performance engines. Some GT-R and VR38DETT reliability is essentially a matter of luck. Some of it has to do with how effectively the R35 is maintained, driven, and customized.
Synopsis of the Nissan GTR VR38
It’s no secret that the GTR has a cult following, which is understandable. The VR38-powered R35 Nissan GT-R is a truly great car that performs much above its price tag. It delivers borderline supercar performance at a fraction of the price of most supercars. Furthermore, the VR38 engine is dependable for the performance it provides. But, no automobile is flawless or indestructible, and the GT-R is no exception.
The two most common problems with the GT-R are with the transmission rather than the VR38 engine. Repairing a rattled bellhousing or a faulty transmission solenoid can cost several thousand dollars. Not too shabby. Nevertheless, the VR38 engine is fantastic. But, once pushed beyond standard power, there is an increased chance of engine failure. Several VR38’s let go on stock turbos with full-bolt ons. Check for proper supporting mods, a good tune, and engine parameters. With the factory motor, the VR38DETT can handle approximately 650 torque. For a V6, it’s not bad.