Nissan VQ37VHR Engine Problems

4 Common Nissan VQ37VHR Engine Problems

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Nissan’s VQ37VHR engine was released in 2008 and is still in production today. It is a naturally aspirated 3.7L V6 which produces 325-350hp depending on its application. It was built off of the VQ35HR which was predominantly used in the Infiniti G35 and ‘Rev-Up’ 350Z. These engines offered pretty good reliability, even when modified. So the question is, did the reliability transfer over to the newer VQ37 engine?

Ultimately, the VQ37VHR is a very reliable engine and is capable of surpassing 200,000 miles with few major issues. The internals are very strong too, capable of handling beyond 600whp. The engine does however suffer from a few smaller issues, including oil galley gasket failure, bad catalytic converters, water pump failure, and high oil consumption. We’re going to discuss each of these problems in-depth below and provide our take on overall engine reliability.

Nissan VQ37VHR Engine Problems

  • Oil Galley Gasket Failure
  • Catalytic Converters
  • Water Pump Failure
  • Oil Consumption

1. Oil Galley Gasket Failure

The VQ37VHR engine has two oil galley’s that sit inside the timing chain cover and in between the block. These galleys are responsible for flowing oil through the timing chain system. There are two gaskets, a “T” shaped and an “L” shaped gasket that seal the cover to the block.

Both of these gaskets commonly fail on 2012 and prior engines. The failure is caused by a poor gasket design which was revised by Nissan in 2012. However, it is not known exactly when in 2012 the new gasket design was implemented, so the problem can still happen to 2012 models as well.

When either of these gaskets fails it causes a drop in oil pressure. The drop is usually immediate and doesn’t come with any pre-existing warning signs. When the oil pressure drops it will send the car into limp mode and usually throw P0011 and P0021 engine codes.

If you experience a drop in oil pressure you need to shut your engine off immediately and get it towed. Driving on low oil pressure even for a few seconds can cause catastrophic internal engine damage.

Gasket Failure Symptoms

  • Low oil pressure
  • Limp mode
  • P0011 and P0021 engine codes

Replacement Options

If these gaskets fail, the only option is to replace them. We’ve seen quotes just to replace the gaskets ranging anywhere from $1,600 to $3,500 depending on whether it’s an indy shop or the dealership. If you experienced other engine damage then you might be looking at a total rebuild or a replacement engine.

Due to the commonality of this problem and the serious damage it can cause, a number of VQ37 owners replace them before the problem occurs. You can buy the updated oil galley gaskets for like $35 and have them installed by pulling the timing cover.

2. Catalytic Converter Failure

On the VQ37VHR the catalytic converters are known to become clogged due to high exhaust gas temperatures. The metals inside the cats are setup in a honeycomb structure. When exhaust gas temps get too high it can burn these metals and cause the cats to become clogged.

We have seen catalytic converters clog as soon as 75,000 miles on the VQ37. However, this is most common on older engines and isn’t as likely to happen on newer model years with those mileage levels. The most common cause of clogged cats is high engine temperatures. Make sure your cooling system is performing properly and never drive your car if it’s starting to overheat.

Failure Symptoms

  • Exhaust rattle
  • Cylinder misfires
  • Bad O2 sensors
  • Check engine light for lean AFR’s
  • Rough idling
  • Poor performance

3. Water Pump Failure

Water pump failure is more of a common maintenance item versus a common problem on the VQ37VHR. The water pump usually goes out around the 100,000 mile mark. Again, this is more of a common maintenance item rather than a common problem. Water pumps naturally fail over time. Just make sure you don’t drive on a broken water pump which can cause overheating.

Water Pump Failure Symptoms

  • Engine overheating
  • Check engine light
  • Coolant leaking from the water pump
  • Whining noises from the pump
  • Oil or coolant drips from vent hole

4. Excess Oil Consumption

Similar to its VQ35DE predecessor, the VQ37 is also prone to excessive oil consumption. High oil consumption usually develops over time and is more common on older and higher mileage engines. Fortunately, the oil consumption issues don’t appear to cause any issues with reliability or engine longevity.

These engines are known to consume about 1qt of oil for every 1,000-2,000 miles of driving. While this doesn’t cause any serious issues it’s important to always monitor oil levels. We recommend keeping a quart or two in your trunk to fill up as needed.

The 3.7L V6 is timing chain driven. While the timing chains actually hold up really well on these engines, low oil levels can cause timing chain failure. The timing chain is usually one of the first components to be starved of oil when oil levels are low so burning excess oil and running low can cause timing chain failure.

Nissan VQ37VHR Reliability

Overall, the VQ37VHR engine is a very reliable engine. With a forged crank and rods the engine is capable of handling some pretty serious power levels. Considering the stock engine produces about 50% of the horsepower that the block and major engine components can handle, it’s unlikely to experience any issues with these components.

2012 and prior models tend to be slightly less reliable due to the oil galley gasket failure. 2013+ models are extremely reliable and don’t really suffer any worrisome common problems.

So far the VQ37VHR seems to be reliable and capable of handling 200,000+ miles. Keep in mind a handful of typical common maintenance items will appear such as water pumps, gaskets, hoses, etc.

Generally speaking, outside of the galley gaskets, all of the problems we mentioned are rather minor and won’t cause engine failure or expensive repairs. With 350hp and virtually zero problems, the VQ37 engine is a fantastic performance motor. Just keep in mind that adding forced induction and other modifications will take a toll on engine longevity and likely result in some more maintenance items popping up more frequently.

How has your experience with Nissan VQ37VHR reliability been?

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