Nissan 370Z with a VQ37VHR engine

Nissan VQ37VHR Engine Specs & Common Problems You Should Know

The Nissan VQ37VHR is a legendary engine, found in popular tuning platforms like the Nissan 370Z and the Infiniti G37. This engine has been around for over a decade and has proven the test of time.

Like any engine, it's not without its faults, but armed with knowledge anyone should be able to keep their engine in top shape for years to come. If you want to keep your VQ37 engine running great, or you're considering a car equipped with one, then we've got everything you need to know.

After years of experience working with and modifying cars with these engines, along with through research, we've compiled the ultimate guide to the Nissan VQ37VHR engine.

History of the VQ37VHR

The Nissan VQ39VHR first made is appearance in 2007, first sold in the 2008 model year of the Infiniti G37, and in the Nissan 370Z the next year. This engine succeeded the VQ35, with a higher 3.7 liter displacement, new light pistons and new connecting rods.

This engine was the first production engine by Nissan to feature their VVEL (variable valve event and lift) technology. It's the most advanced engine Nissan has made in the VQ series.

The new variable valve timing technology in this engine meant this engine had an improved torque curve, with more torque at the low end, when compared to is predecessor. It also gave the engine better fuel efficiency and improved throttle response.

Other technology featured in the VQ37VHR includes Nissan Direct Ignition System (NDIS), using coilpacks to power the spark plugs .rather a distributor, and Nissan Continuous Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS).

The engine was constructed using a lightweight aluminum block and cylinder head. They used a new improved head and intake manifold design, and a higher compression ratio of 11.0:1.

The VQ37VHR has four valves per cylinder. The intake valves are 36.6 mm in diameter, and the exhaust valves are 30.2 mm in diameter.

The initial release of the engine had 332 hp and a redline of 7,500 RPM. As Nissan updated the engine over the years, they'd improve it until it made its maximum power of 350 hp with a higher max RPM of 7,600 RPM when sold in the Nissan 370Z Nismo Edition.

Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL)

Nissan's VVEL system works in similar way to BMW's Valvetronic or Honda's SOHC i-VTEC. With this new technology, Nissan removed the throttle butterfly in the throttle bodies. Instead, the intake camshafts control how wide the intake valves open.

VVEL allowed Nissan to improve throttle response, as well as the torque curve and reduce fuel consumption. With the traditional butterfly setup in a previous VQ series engine, there a delay between you pressing the throttle and air entering the combustion chamber, which has been eliminated.

If you want to learn more about Nissan's VVEL system, take a look at this video from Engineering Explained.

VQ37VHR Engine Specs

  • Horsepower: 325-350 hp @ 7000 rpm
  • Torque: 266-275 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
  • Compression ratio: 11.0:1
  • Cylinder Bore: 95.5 mm
  • Piston Stroke: 86.0 mm
  • Displacement: 3696cc
  • Redline: 7,600 rpm
  • Firing order: 1-2-3-4-5-6
  • Aspiration: Naturally aspirated
  • Fuel system: Direct injection

Modifying The VQ37VHR

Cars equipped with the Nissan VQ37VHR, such as the Nissan 370Z and Infiniti G7 are very popular platforms for modifications and tuning, with many options available for parts such as an exhaust system, intake, and other common bolt ons. The engine block has proven to hold up to as much as 4 times the stock power output.

Of course, when you go for higher power levels, you'll have to install upgrades to the internal components, such as stronger pistons, camshafts, and rods, especially once you add forced induction, but the engine block is quite strong.

Some owners have even managed to push their 370Z's engines to over 1000 whp when adding turbochargers and other supporting mods!

Forced Induction

If you want to make big power with the VQ37VHR, you'll want to install a turbocharger or supercharger kit. There are plenty of aftermarket options available for both. 

Watch out this video from TheSmokingTire if you want help deciding whether to install a supercharger or turbo.

Common Problems With The VQ37VHR

We've compiled a list of the most common issues experienced with the VQ37VHR.

High Oil Consumption

With higher milage examples of the VQ37VHR, it's a common problem for them to consume oil. As long as you make sure to regularly check and top off the oil, this generally doesn't cause any other problems. Many owners report that their engines consume around 1 quart of oil every 1000 - 2000 miles.

Keep in mind, the VQ37VHR uses a timing chain. This means it's particularly sensitive to low oil levels, and given that it's an interference engine, failure of the timing chains will likely lead to major damage to the rest of the engine.

If the oil consumption gets really bad, you may notice low compression and smoke coming from your exhaust. If this starts to happen, then the engine could be nearing the end of its lifespan and need to be rebuilt.

We recommend keeping an extra quart of oil in your trunk, and regularly checking the oil when you fill up the gas tank, or before any long trips.

Fuel Starvation

On early models of the VQ37VHR, it's common to run into fuel starvation issues when driving the vehicle hard, particularly around a track.

During hard turns, the fuel in the tank can be pushed to one side by high g-forces. This results in the fuel pump running dry and sucking air into the fuel system.

The aftermarket has come up with a fix for this solution. You can install a fuel surge tank, which is a device installed in the engine bay that keeps a constant supply of fuel to the engine during these momentary dips in pressure.

Oil Galley Gasket Failure

The VQ37VHR has two oil galleys, or pathways for oil to flow, that are responsible for keeping the timing chain lubricated. These galleys are found under the timing cover, and are sealed by two gaskets.

Earlier versions of the Nissan VQ37VHR engine suffer from poor gasket design. When the gaskets fail, there is a drop in oil pressure, sending the car into limp mode. Typically, if the ECU throws the codes P0011 and P0021, this means the oil galley gaskets have failed.

Nissan eventually revised the part to remedy this solution sometime after 2012, so newer versions of the VQ37VHR are unlikely to suffer from this failure.

If you experience a drop in oil pressure and check engine light, you should stop driving the car right away and have it towed. Continuing to drive without proper oil pressure can lead to total engine failure.

Symptoms of Oil Galley Gasket Failure

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

Replacing Oil Galley Gaskets

While you can buy the newer versions of these gaskets for under $40, this is no easy job, and it can cost a couple of thousand dollars once 10-12 hours of labor is factored in. If you experience this issue on your VQ37VHR, you'll want to address it immediately to avoid further more costly repairs.

If you're comfortable with doing the work yourself, watch this video from Tuned Tunas and see how.

Water Pump Failure

After around 100,000 miles, it's common that you need to replace the water pump on a VQ37VHR. The water pump continuously circulates the fluid through the cooling system, and eventually wears down over time. Additionally, the internal seals of the pump deteriorate and cause leaks.

This is not a major design flaw of the VQ37VHR, but a common bit of maintenance on many higher mileage engines. The pump has what's known as a weep hole on the bottom, designed to make it clear when the pump is nearing failure. If you notice oil or coolant leaking from the water pump, then it's time to replace it.

Driving with a failed water pump can result in your engine over heating and cause further damage to the engine, so it's something you'll want to address right away.

Symptoms of Water Pump Failure

  • Coolant or oil leaking from water pump
  • Engine overheating
  • Whining sound coming from the pump

Water Pump Replacement

Fortunately, it's not too expensive to fix a failed water pump. The part itself can be found for under $200, and it should only take at most a few hours of labor.

Catalytic Converter Failure

On the VQ37VHR, it's a somewhat common issue for the catalytic converters to become clogged. High exhaust temperatures cause the metal catalyst material inside the catalytic converter to break off and cause clogs.

High engine temperatures can increase the likelihood of this issue developing. Be sure to keep an eye on your engine temperature, and avoid driving the car too hard to the point of overheating. 

Symptoms of Bad Catalytic converter

  • Exhaust rattles
  • Check engine light for O2 sensors or Low AFR
  • Misfiring
  • Rough idle
  • Lack of performance

Catalytic Converter Replacement

Unfortunately, the precious metals found in catalytic converters make them quite expensive parts. Labor costs are low, as this isn't too hard of a job, but the part itself usually goes for over $1000. 

There are non-OEM options available, some of which are less restrictive, so this could be an opportunity to unlock some extra power. You'll need to take your local and state emissions laws into consideration with this route, as in some areas aftermarket catalytic converters could cause your car to fail a smog inspection.

Cars Using The VQ37VHR

  • Nissan 370Z (2009-2013)
  • Infiniti G37 (2008-2013; also known as Nissan Skyline V36)
  • Infiniti Q50 (2014-present)
  • Infiniti Q70/M70 (2010-2019)
  • Nissan Fuga (2010-2022; rebadged Q70)
  • Mitsubishi Proudia (2012-2016; rebadged Q70)
  • Infiniti QX50 (2014-present)
  • Infiniti QX70 (2014-2017)
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