3 Common Nissan VR30DDTT Engine Problems
Zach is a founder of 8020 Media and TuningPro. He’s been repairing, upgrading, tuning, and writing about cars & engines for over a decade. Zach has written over 400 automotive articles and continues to be a lead writer for TuningPro. His passion, experience, and deep technical knowledge make him a go-to resource for readers looking to take their car to the next level.
The Nissan VR30DDTT engine was announced in December 2015, and made available in the Infiniti Q50 in 2016. Its 3.0L twin turbo V6 design offers stout power and performance. All models with the VR30 engine are available in 300 or 400 horsepower versions. The efficient and powerful design helped the VR30DDTT make it on Ward’s 10 Best Engines list in 2017 and 2018. However, no engine is perfect and there are no exceptions here. In this article, we discuss a few common problems with the Nissan VR30DDTT engine as well as reliability, specs, performance and more.
What Cars Use the Twin Turbo VR30?
VR30DDTT engines are in the following Infiniti and Nissan models:
- 2016-present Infiniti Q50
- 2017-present Infiniti Q60
- 2019-present Nissan Skyline (non-US)
- 2022- Nissan Z Proto
Nissan Skyline models in foreign markets are similar to the Infiniti Q50. It’s currently a pretty short list of cars that use the VR30 engine, but expect the list will grow. The twin turbo 3.0L V6 will be in the upcoming 2022 Nissan Z Proto.
Nissan VR30DTT 3.0L V6 Specs
VR represents the Nissan engine family while 30 stands for the engines displacement of 3.0L. The first D means DOHC while the second refers to direct cylinder fuel injection. Finally, the TT represents the VR30’s twin turbo design. It differs from the DETT designation of the VR38DETT in the Nissan GT-R. This is due to the fact the VR38 engine uses multi port fuel injection, so the engine code uses an E. Anyways, the below chart shows a few notable specs for the Nissan VR30DDTT engine:
|Displacement||2,997 cc (3.0L)|
|Valvetrain||DOHC, 24 valves|
|Valve Control||Intake & Exhaust VCT|
|Compression||10.3 : 1|
|Bore x Stroke||86mm x 86mm|
|Horsepower||300-400hp @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque (lb-ft)||295-350 @ 1,600 – 5,200 rpm|
These are pretty standard specs for modern performance engines. A 3.0L twin turbo engine seems to be the recipe for success following in the footsteps of legendary engines like the N54, 2jz, etc. The head and block are aluminum to help keep the VR30’s weight down. Its DOHC design with variable cam timing (VCT) help the engine put down solid power and torque.
Direct fuel injection (DI) is another great technology that improves performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions. However, DI does have a few flaws which we’ll discuss as one of the common VR30DDTT engine problems. Regardless, the point is – the Nissan VR30 offers a solid design and great overall performance.
*One note – the RS400 (Red Sport 400) models offer 400hp and 350tq from the factory. The silver sport models come with 300hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. All models feature both engine options. A notable difference is that 400hp VR30 engines use a 2nd water pump.
VR30 Twin Turbo Tuning Potential
We’ll keep this topic quick for this article as we’ll have a full guide for VR30DDTT bolt-on performance mods in the near future. Of course, as a twin turbo engine there’s some untapped potential on the table. It also appears the engines are underrated from the factory. Nonetheless, a tune and basic bolt-ons can push the VR30 3.0L twin turbo engine to the next level.
It’s still a pretty new engine so time will tell how well the engines hold up with additional power. More testing and development is also needed to see what they’re truly capable of in the longer-term. However, a tune and bolt-ons can take the VR30 engine to 425+whp and 450+wtq.
Nissan VR30DDTT Engine Problems
A few of the most common problems with the Nissan / Infiniti VR30DDTT engine include:
- Drive belt
- Carbon build-up
- Fuel injectors
Throughout the rest of this article we’ll break these issues down in-depth. It’s important to add some quick housekeeping notes, though. We may not specify every time, but we’re considering these among the most common flaws. That doesn’t mean they’re common in the true sense of the definition. Rather, when something goes wrong these are a few of the most common areas.
So far, the Nissan VR30DDTT is proving to be a pretty reliable engine. As with any engine there were some kinks to work out in the early days following its release. That said, the VR30 is still a pretty new engine so long-term reliability is still up in the air. We’ll circle back to the reliability topic at the end of this article. For now, let’s jump in and examine the above common VR30DDTT engine problems.
1) VR30 3.0L Twin Turbo Drive Belt Issues
The drive belt is also known as an accessory belt or serpentine belt. It’s one of the more common problems on the Nissan VR30DDTT engine. However, these issues are hopefully resolved for the long-term by now. Infiniti did address this VR30 failure with a service bulletin, and it doesn’t seem to be a common issue on newer engines. It mostly affects 2016 and 2017 Infiniti Q50 and Q60 models.
We typically avoid discussing these sorts of failures since all new engines are subject to minor design flaws. Fortunately, Nissan and Infiniti were quick to address the VR30DDTT drive belt problems. It’s still worth the mention since serpentine belt failure can cause a plethora of more serious failures.
Drive belts slipping off the pulley is the main issue at hand. Once that occurs you’ll notice power loss, engine lights, etc. It can also cause the engine to overheat causing further damage. Again, 2018+ VR30DDTT models shouldn’t run into drive belt issues but it’s not impossible. If you own a 2016 or 2017 engine and the drive belt has not been addressed then it’s a good thing to look into sooner than later.
Nissan 3.0 Twin Turbo Drive Belt Symptoms
Some symptoms of drive belt/serpentine belt problems on the Nissan VR30 engine include:
- Squealing/noisy belt
- Multiple dash lights
- A/C or Heat Issues
- Power loss
Before the belt completely slips off the pulley or fail you might only notice the odd sounds. Listen for a squealing and noisy drive belt. Otherwise, once the Infiniti VR30DDTT belt fails you’ll likely notice the symptoms immediately. Multiple lights including the check engine light will probably illuminate. Power loss will occur and overheating is possible if you continue driving the engine.
VR30DDTT Drive Belt Replacement
Given this was addressed with a service bulletin Nissan and Infiniti should cover the cost of repairs. A service bulletin isn’t necessarily a recall or extended warranty, though. We would recommend checking to ensure this is taken care of prior to the VR30DDTT running out of warranty. Chances are they’ll still cover the repair outside of warranty, but better safe than sorry.
2) Nissan VR30DDTT Carbon Build-Up Problems
Here we are writing about carbon build-up again. This likely isn’t a common issue on the Nissan VR30 engines quite yet since they’re still pretty new. However, almost any direct injection engine is prone to carbon build-up at some point. It’s something to consider in the longer-term for the VR30DDTT 3.0L V6 engine.
All engines produce some natural oil blow-by. This oil then makes its way into the intake ports where it can stick to intake valves and form carbon deposits. It’s a non-issue with port injection since fuel is flowing through the intake ports and valves. However, many modern engines like the VR30 twin turbo use direct injection. Fuel enters the cylinder directly, so there isn’t any flowing over the valves.
Over time, this leads to carbon build-up on intake valves and ports. DI is otherwise excellent technology, and we’ll gladly accept the trade-off of better fuel economy, emissions, and performance. Anyways, look for carbon build-up to become problematic on the VR30DDTT around the 80,000 to 120,000 mile ballpark.
VR30 Carbon Build-up Symptoms
A few symptoms of excess carbon build-up on the Nissan / Infiniti VR30 engine are:
- Rough idle
- Stuttering / hesitation
- Power loss
As carbon deposits form they begin restricting air-flow into the cylinders. This can throw off the AFR and cause misfires, rough idle, and stuttering or hesitation while accelerating. Power loss is a major symptom since less air-flow means less power. It’s really hard to detect power loss, though. Carbon build-up gradually gets worse over the course of 50,000+ miles, so it’s not a sudden loss of power.
It’s also important to note some DI cars go their whole lives without addressing carbon build-up. There are rarely any risks of other problems or failures occurring due to carbon deposits. However, it does cause drivability and performance issues once there is enough build-up. Something most people want to avoid with a high-performance engine like the VR30DDTT.
Nissan VR30DDTT Walnut Blasting
Walnut blasting is typically the preferable way to clean carbon deposits from intake valves and ports. The process involves a heavy duty shop-vac and walnut media shells. Most of the expense involved is related to labor since the intake manifold must come off to access intake valves.
For the DIY crowd walnut blasting the VR30DDTT engine only costs about $20-30 in walnut media shells. At a repair shop it can be a $300-600 job due to the labor. Again, it’s a fairly minor problem in the grand scheme and some VR30 engines will probably go their whole lives without walnut blasting.
3) VR30DDTT 3.0 V6 Fuel Injector Failures
Fuel injector failures are another one of the most common problems on the Nissan VR30DDT 3.0 V6 engine. There is also a service bulletin addressing fuel injector failures. Some attribute this to mods, tunes, and running E85 fuel blends. However, there are also numerous failures occurring on completely stock VR30 twin turbo engines.
It seems failures are happening due to metallic debris coming from the OEM fuel rail. This indicates the fuel rail could still cause VR30DDTT aftermarket injectors to suffering similar problems. As such, the underlying fuel rail issues should be addressed.
Nissan and Infiniti did release a new OEM fuel rail to remedy these problems. Hopefully this suffices as a long-term solution. Given Nissan is aware of the problems we assume they’re also fixing this one new VR30 engines from the factory. In other words, this appears to just be another minor kink that all new engines are prone to.
This article goes into a bit more depth and may be a helpful resource for those wanting to learn more about VR30DDTT injector failures.
Nissan VR30 Fuel Injector Symptoms
Symptoms of fuel injector and/or fuel rail problems on the Nissan VR30DDTT 3.0L twin turbo engine are as follows:
- Fault codes P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P0305, P0306
- Check engine light
- Rough idle
- Poor performance
Check the fault codes if you’re noticing any symptoms that may indicate VR30 fuel injector issues. A check engine light may illuminate, especially if you’re getting misfires. Without correct fuel flow that can, of course, cause a handful of other symptoms. Rough idle, stuttering, and poor overall operation may point to a fuel injector failure on the 3.0L twin turbo V6.
VR30DDTT 3.0L Fuel Injector Fix
We couldn’t track down the full service bulletin, but it’s out there somewhere. Nissan and Infiniti are aware of these problems with the VR30DDTT fuel injectors. As such, they’ll likely help with and cover any issues. If you’re stuck paying out of pocket ensure you track down the newest OEM fuel rails.
Additionally, aftermarket or new OEM injectors won’t always solve the root cause. If the fuel rail still has debris it can quickly take out any replacement injectors.
Nissan VR30DDTT Reliability
Is the Nissan VR30DDTT 3.0 V6 engine reliable? Yes, we believe this is a reliable engine overall. However, it’s always hard to say with relatively new engines since the VR30 has only been around about 6 years. There are always early kinks and flaws to work out with any new engine. The twin turbo 3.0L V6 has seen its fair share of those problems to work out.
However, the age of the VR30DDTT also works in its favor when it comes to reliability. Some common engine problems don’t show themselves until engines are 6-8+ years old with 100,000+ miles. All engines are also prone to their fair share of failures with that kind of age and mileage, though.
Nonetheless, in its young career the VR30 is showing to be a pretty reliable engine. Use quality oils, change fluids on time, and fix problems if and when they occur. Do all of this and you’ll likely have a fun, reliable experience with the Nissan VR30DDTT engine.
If you liking this post then you can also go for our post on Most Common Nissan VG33E 3.3 V6 Problems
VR30DDTT Common Engine Problems Summary
The Nissan & Infiniti VR30 twin turbo engine is an exciting and promising engine. It offers a very respectable 300-400hp from the factory, and has even more potential with a few bolt-on upgrades. VR30DDTT engines offer a good all around balance of performance, efficiency, and reliability. However, no engine is perfect and that applies to the VR30 V6 engine too.
A few common VR30DDTT problems include drive belts and fuel injectors. These can likely be chalked up to early design kinks that simply needed some time to be worked out. Nissan/Infiniti were quick to address the problems and come up with solutions, so that’s promising. Otherwise, carbon build-up is simply a downside to what we believe is an excellent technology.
It’s still a new engine, though. In the coming years we’ll probably have a better picture of longer-term reliability for the VR30DDTT 3.0L V6 engines. For now all signs are pointing in the right direction. The Nissan VR30 engines offer a compelling balance of performance, reliability, and efficiency.
What’s your experience with the Nissan VR30DDTT engine? Are you considering one?
Leave a comment and let us know!