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Nissan Engine Designations

Nissan, like most car manufacturers, has a designation for every engine it produces. SR20DE is the designation for our engines. The letters and numbers in the engine designations have meaning. They describe engine's configuration. This page explains how to interpret these designations.

The engine designation is broken up into its constituent parts in the boxes below. The fields with white background are present in all Nissan engine designations while those in grey may or may not be present.

A little history: When Nissan began using this naming system, most engines were carbureted,  non-turbocharged and used a single camshaft. As a result a simple designation could be used. As advancements were made and engines enhanced, a way was needed to differentiate between the versions of each engine. The solution: add letters to the end of the base designation that indicate the differences. Thus the letters suffixed to the basic designation depend on the specifics of the engine's configuration. Any combination of these fields may exist, but they will always be in the order indicated below.

For discussion, we will use the engine in R32-R34 Skyline GT-R as an example. This engine's designation is RB26DETT.

RB 26 D E TT

We will look at each field individually. The field being discussed is highlighted in red with white text.

RB 26 D E TT
Series - The first field contains one or two letters which indicate the engine series, in this case: RB. In general, engines with the same series designation use the same basic block design.


RB 26 D E TT
Displacement - The second field contains two number which indicate the engines displacement in deciliters, in this case: 26. Therefore, the engine displaces 2.6 liters.


RB 26 D E TT
Valve Train - The third field indicates the type of valve train being used.
        [Absent] - Single overhead cam
        D - Dual overhead cam
        V - Variable valve lift (VVL)


RB 26 D E TT
Fuel Delivery  - The fourth field indicates the type of fuel delivery system
        [Absent] - Carburetor
        E - Multiport fuel injection
        i - Throttle body fuel injection
       D - Direct injection


RB 26 D E TT
Forced Induction - The last field indicates if any forced induction is being used.
        [Absent] - No forced induction
        T - Single turbocharger; sometimes followed by R which indicates a larger turbo.
        TT - Twin turbochargers


Examples: Here are several examples to clarify things a bit.

Designation Series Displacement Valvetrain Fuel Delivery Forced Induction
L28 L 2.8 liters single cam carbureted N/A
KA24E KA 2.4 liters single cam MPFI N/A
CD20T CD 2.0 liters single cam carbureted single turbo
RB20ET CA 2.0 liters single cam MPFI single turbo
SR18Di SR 1.8 liters single cam TBFI N/A
KA24DE KA 2.4 liters dual cam MPFI N/A
CA18DET CA 1.8 liters dual cam MPFI single turbo
VG30DETT VG 3.0 liters dual cam MPFI twin turbo
SR16VE SR 1.6 liters VVL MPFI N/A
MA09ET-R MA 0.9 liters single cam MPFI single turbo (race spec)